The federal government has wanted to enact data retention requirements for some time, and now Qwest has taken the curious position of saying it supports the legislation, making it the first broadband provider to do so. It's a slightly curious position for the company, which gained a lot of consumer goodwill when it refused to cooperate with the NSA in the wiretapping imbrolgio that sucked in other major telcos. It's unclear why Qwest thinks the laws are a good idea, the company's chief privacy officer not giving any reasons beyond saying that Qwest wants to be present in the discussions in hopes of coming up with something reasonable -- but given lawmakers' involvement, that's wishful thinking. What's a little more striking is her admission that the company keeps logs of "more than 99 percent of its services" for a year, which doesn't seem to really jibe with the privacy-protector image Qwest cultivated with its NSA stance. It doesn't look like the recent AOL search data leak clearly enough illustrated the downside of data rentention, while Qwest's support of new laws doesn't change the fundamental problems with it, including its costs and technical challenges -- but most crucially, how data retention just creates more data, not better data for law enforcement to comb through. Update: Qwest says hang on, that it doesn't support the federal legislation, and that its counsel misspoke -- confusing federal data-retention proposals with a much less onerous state plan a Colorado legislator proposed.
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