US Justice Department Likes Europe's Bad Data Retention Idea

from the needle-in-a-haystack dept

And we thought it was just Europe that was going to be stuck with bad data retention laws. It seemed like the US recognized that data retention laws not only were an incredible burden for ISPs, who had to record and store all the data on what their users did online, but also made law enforcement’s job more difficult by simply giving them more data to sift through, rather than better data. However, it looks like the Justice Department is quietly shopping around their own data retention plan that would require US ISPs to keep data on what their customers did for a few months. The article claims that this would include email, browsing activity and chat room activity — though, that certainly could get the privacy folks screaming quite loudly. In this case, though, it looks like the DoJ is playing the child porn card — attaching the data retention policy to a bill about child porn, knowing that no politicians likes to vote against such things. However, as the article makes clear, once the data is retained, it’ll likely be used for plenty of other things. In the meantime, the people who actually are committing crimes will simply use encryption, meaning the ISPs won’t have real data on them anyway (though, then they’ll suggest that anyone using encryption must be a criminal). Finally, if the ISPs need to record and store all this data, will the government pick up the expense?

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