Congress Wants WiFi Owners To Keep Log Files For 2 Years… For The Children

from the it's-always-for-the-children dept

Similar ideas have been proposed before, but new bills have been proposed in both the House and the Senate that require anyone offering internet connectivity to retain log files for two years. There’s no good reason for this, of course. It’s been shown that such data retention laws actually make it more difficult to track down the information you need while being expensive. But, of course, the politicians are claiming this is “to protect the children.” Of course. They even have come up with a silly acronym so that the title of the bill (Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act) spells out “Internet SAFETY Act.” Of course, that’s a load of crap, because this bill has little to do with protecting children, and won’t do much, if anything to actually protect children.

It will, however, be a huge nuisance for just about everyone. That’s because the bill, as written, doesn’t just apply to big ISPs, but to anyone providing internet access — meaning all of you with your home routers fall under this law and will need to keep log files for two years or, you know, be accused of helping child predators. I can’t wait until prosecutors are looking to charge someone with something — and since they have no actual evidence on whatever it is they’re looking for, they’ll make use of such a law to prosecute. For the children. Of course.

Can someone pass a law that says that any politician who proposes a law “for the sake of the children” or “to protect the children” automatically gets thrown out of elected office? Protecting children is great — but why is it that every law that is supposedly there to protect the children never actually has anything to do with protecting children?

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Comments on “Congress Wants WiFi Owners To Keep Log Files For 2 Years… For The Children”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Replacing Responsible Parenting with Government Intervention

This has a certain stench of Pelosi to it. I believe she recently changed perfumes to “Reprehensible”.

Overreaching Government goals of “protecting the children” continues to transfer power from Parents to Government.

This is so angering. It’s to the point I would like to see a “parent license” come forward. Some people are absolutely astounding. Take OctoMom with her 14 kids needs to have it revoked, not her children protected with Government dollars. Her actions lack judgment, foresight, and are inherently self motivated.

Remember she filed bankruptcy, so who gets to nanny her kids? Why, us taxpayers of course!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Replacing Responsible Parenting with Government Intervention

Wow, someone has a pet peeve against Pelosi…

Try two Republicans being responsible (I know, hard to believe).

On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act of 2009, or the Internet SAFETY Act. (S.436 and H. R. 1076)

Anonymous Coward says:

Replacing Responsible Parenting with Government Intervention

This has a certain stench of Pelosi to it. I believe she recently changed perfumes to “Reprehensible”.

Overreaching Government goals of “protecting the children” continues to transfer power from Parents to Government.

This is so angering. It’s to the point I would like to see a “parent license” come forward. Some people are absolutely astounding. Take OctoMom with her 14 kids needs to have it revoked, and her children don’t need to be protected with Government dollars. Make your bed, you get to lay in it! Her actions lack judgment, foresight, and are inherently self motivated.

Remember she filed bankruptcy, so who gets to nanny her kids? Why, us taxpayers of course!

jqpublic says:

Replacing responsible thinking with political rhetoric

Hey, anonymous coward – how come you republicans always jump to blame a democrat without even knowing what you’re talking about.

Perhaps if you read TFA, you might’ve come across the first sentence…

“Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law that would require all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points, even hotels, local coffee shops, and home users, to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations. “

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Replacing responsible thinking with political rhetoric

“Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law…”

That’s just a libercrat lie trying to make the Republicans look bad. It was really the libercrats and now they’re trying to frame some poor Republicans and the liberal press is going along with it as usual.

Relonar says:

well, I have an unencrypted AP setup on a vlan separate from my home net. I keep aggregate data from it (basically a chart showing total bandwidth usage/deltaTime , flows/dt, auths/dt, etc.
specifics only have a log that roll’s over about every 3 days or so.

being in a semi urban area, I get alot of random traffic that uses little to no bandwidth.
If i was required to keep detailed logs such as each individual auth and dhcp release for *two years*, there better be a subsidy program so I can purchase more storage and a server to sort it all.

my god talk about being out of touch in regards to the amount of overhead that such a system requires.

also this would do little to help catch anyone who would use my system.

random creep walks by and uploads some CP to an image board.
gov’t sees an some IP put the stuff there (lets not even bother wondering how they got that)
IP != person
they contact my ISP to get who had the IP at a certain time
I get mail, or maybe even a knock at the door.
after explaining that i have an open system so anyone could be using my ip at that time, I go over to my server and grab the *two effing years* of useless logs.
they give me a time
i give them X different MACs that were authed around that time
MAC != person
they can be changed, at random, whenever you feel like it

gov’t is no closer to catching creep, they have a few days wasted effort, I have a /few/ dollars wasted on logging.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Relonar

Relonar: I get mail, or maybe even a knock at the door.

Dude, it wouldn’t be a knock on your door. It’d be the swat team breaking down your door in the middle of the night, shooting your dog even if it’s just a Chihuahua, a half million dollar bail (your a child pornographer for christ sake), 5 or 6 figures in legal bills, a chance that you’ll get a judge that’ll allow the evidence that can exonerate you and a chance that there’ll be enough people on the jury who can understand the evidence that you don’t get convicted.

You must have missed the memo. When it comes to saving the children leave no doubt that you’re guilty until proven innocent and they make that as difficult as possible. Just ask Julie Amero (google if you don’t know the story.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can someone pass a law that says that any politician who proposes a law “for the sake of the children” or “to protect the children” automatically gets thrown out of elected office?

Stellar idea! We could call it the “Legislative Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act,” because the whole “think of the children” justification is a form of exploitation in itself.

JohnForDummies (profile) says:


Let’s see…
RIAA Lawyers set up with jobs in the DOJ…
Now there are laws being proposed to have everyone keep logs of who has access to internet accounts…

Hey! Didn’t Google just get whooped on from privacy advocates for holding onto server logs for more than 6 months?

Another rambling thought… so a cracker gets into your wireless router, and then does something illegal… and then clears the router’s logs… How much trouble are you going to be in at that point? Never mind that even if your wireless is locked down, someone can still get on it and spoof your MAC address, so it’s going to look like your pc anyway……

Chris Cowan says:

Sorry guys this one is bipartisan

Lamar Smith, Oren Hatch and Diane Feinstein are all puppets for the Entertainment lobby. This one is coming straight from the RIAA and MPAA! One of these 3 tries something like this every single year, under the rubric of preventing child pornography. Lamar’s allegiance is so transparent it’s laughable.

Bush established a copyright Czar during the lame duck period, and the new regime has no plans to “Change” anything in this regard. Look at the recent results of the RIAA’s latest cases. It’s too much work for them to pursue these matters with the current system. Can you not see the real agenda? if you still need a clue.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s all about money, and finding ways to continue to part you from your money!

“How can we get a piece of that action?” Stooge #1 said.

“I know, let’s capture 2 years of internet logs, then find ways to make it socially unacceptable, and lock them away!” said Stooge #2.

“You know, that’s great! I talked to a lobbyist at GeoGroup yesterday,” quipped Stooge #3, “and they are worried we’re not helping their stock. So we need to find more ways to lock non-violent people away”

“Brilliant!” Stooge #4 said while taking a puff from a cigar, “I have to say, Limbaugh has great tastes in Cigars…” Stooge #3 nodded in agreement. “But why are we stopping there? Why can’t we legislate the other side of the equation?”

“What do you mean?” Stooge 2 said.

“Why don’t we work on legislation to treat children as employees of their parents. If we could find a way to erode the family unit, we could tax allowance money and they can finally build those bridges to nowhere!” Said Stooge #3, slyly. “After all, the under 18 demographic accounts for the largest amount of expendable income.”

The meeting ended shortly thereafter, in agreement that they could work on pushing forward the Children’s Liberation.

DCX2 says:


This kind of law isn’t going to stop those who are actually exploiting others (of any age! I guess exploitation is a situation unique to children and once you turn 18 you cannot be exploited anymore…). It will probably be used against those people who are not exploiting anyone; I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s used to prosecute a teenager who uploaded a nudie pic to a friend. We’re already imprisoning 1% of our population, more than any other nation in the world…so let’s create more victimless “crimes”!

Headbhang says:

Two years!? Un-fucking-believable!

I just can’t believe these people can be so damn idiotic and detached from reality. Are they on some kind of adulterated crack or what???

(But of course we know they are not that stupid, just shamelessly power-hungry meddlers. They simply want an excuse to potentially turn everybody into a criminal so they have the ability to grab by the balls anyone who happens to catch their attention by doing something they don’t like.)

Jan B. says:

political paranoia

This seems to be more and more like McCarthyism – just instead of communists now we have pedophiles everywhere. Basically it is the same witch-hunt – in our paranoia we want to have everybody under control and if you are criticising us or you just want to defend your freedoms against us => you are pedophile. Very very dangerous. But where does this come from? Is it some kind of scape-goat ritual or what?

They call me - The Log Czar says:

The Intarwebz aint what they used to be

Maybe Linksys will be kind enough to market a new WIFI enabled device that automatically logs all traffic for you, and then forwards it all to the government agency in charge of logs. Wouldn’t that be sweet. The fed could then make it a required piece of hardware- you know – kinda like that GPS thing you had to buy for your car.

PrisonPlanet says:

Re: Two bullshit politicians with a bullshit bill.

Yes it total BS!!! This is the same shit they said about craigslist about the children BS and Human Trafficking Protect the children is a major coverup and it seems to me that USA is becoming a communist country day by day! Fuck this monitoring shit! And that HULU commercial about digital TV and a plot to destroy our minds BS!

Michael (profile) says:

Unconstitutional in the US?

Is there some law that allows the government to record the name and time of every person walking on the side walk, or through a given area in a shopping mall?

Isn’t this unconstitutional by the fact that anonymity is a part of free speech (1st amendment), and you are innocent until proven guilty, and also the right of protection from unreasonable search and seizure (4th amendment), as well as a few sections of the 5th amendment of the constitution relating to due process.

Independent Thought says:

Washignto Dim Wits

It figures…

1. Take a problem that requires logical, creative thought and surgical precision to eradicate enough to make a difference…

2. Have Republicans come up with their tried and true solution: Find the biggest sledge hammer you can and start swinging. Sooner or later you might luck out and hit the thing you’re trying to get rid of… collateral damage be damned!

3. Tell the general public that the time and $$$ they’ll have to spend to keep and then provide such logs on demand, that it’s the price society has to pay to “protect the children”

4. Tell the innocent that are unfairly arrested and falsely charged with crimes due to this cluster-f$%k of a law “Oops… sorry… we’re just protecting the children. You’ll rebuild your life and reputation someday… maybe another Corporate tax break to allow for more offshoring of jobs will help…”

5. Tell those who are unable to keep logs that the exorbitant fine that’s levied will go towards “protecting the children in the future”.

If you say “NO” to this law… you’re no better than the pedophile down the street, and the Republicans will let everyone know that…

Makes sense to me… after 6 Xanax and a case of beer… which is what these REPUBLICAN bozos must of downed before they came up with this idea!

Relonar… be careful. Knowingly opening up your wireless LAN to the outside and allowing free Internet access to masses my violate the Terms of Service with your ISP and possibly a state or local law/ordinance or two (depending on how Fascist, er…Republican leaning your state or local goverment is… don’t worry, Democrats suck too)

Scott says:

The bill states even on protected home networks, you must keep logs of all internet traffic for two years and back it up or you go to jail if the Police come by and ask for this data. This would be the home user responsibility and the ISP would have to do the same.

This means everyone house would have to have a server collecting all the data and then you would have to play another company also to back that data up. This goes against the 1, 5, 10 amendments.

It would cost so much to keep this data and maintain networks no one will be able to afford the internet at home only large companies could do it.

Also there no way to match IP with Mac addresses from device and they can be changed easily to hide there true Mac address for devices. So the government then will have to create a database and force all network devices Mac addresses to be registered. Just think when ever you by a computer, console, phone, you will be forced to fill out paper work pay a fee to register the device with the goverment first like a car, crazy.

NotGonnaHappen says:

Re: Re: Expensive Home Wifi

The bill applies only to dynamically assigned IP addresses, the logs of that have to be stored. If you read Title 18 Section 2703, what has to be disclosed to law enforcement is essentially a billing record. This isn’t going to get applied to home access points because what’s the point? There’s no billing record to disclose! The mac address of a remote system isn’t proof someone did something with a particular computer, especially when mac addresses can easily be modified manually.

No folks, no one below ISPs and maybe businesses has to worry about this. And for the reason I stated above this bill won’t solve the problems faced by law enforcement and the DOJ in prosecuting criminals. All this does is threaten free wi-fi service providers because they are going to have to make you register with some verifiable identification to cover their butts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Expensive Home Wifi

While I agree with most of want you posted, a quick look at the linked bill reveals ambiguos language that is open to interpretation. from s.436

Section 3
`(b) Definitions- As used in this section–
`(1) the term `Internet content hosting provider’ means a service that–
`(A) stores, through electromagnetic or other means, electronic data, including the content of web pages, electronic mail, documents, images, audio and video files, online discussion boards, and weblogs; and
`(B) makes such data available via the Internet

`(h) Retention of Certain Records and Information- A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user.’.

casey says:

Give it to 'em

How about we all PRINT the logs out every week and mail them to our representatives. Tell them that you don’t want to increase your carbon footprint by running storage arrays. (and you WILL need more than an external 1TB drive)

Let’s see these idiots try and read network log files line by line on a sheet of paper while pursuing alleged copyright infringers. (which we all know this is REALLY about)

genecat says:

The intention of this bill is disingenuous and its authors are clearly pandering. Could there be a more wasteful act of taxpayer time and money? We simply need to remove Congressional reps that advocate legislative actions such as these. There are real problems and issues confronting us and we can ill afford to pay the costs of this type of thinking in the Congress. Troublemakers like these need to be vilified and their real intentions made public. They pose a far greater threat to our liberties than the crimes to which they falsely attempt to legislate against.

Really pissed off at Republicans ... says:

Hate Pelossi and Republicans

That B%$&*H Pelossi should switch sides and become a Republican. I am so tired of these self centered politicians. Instead of worrying about the plight of the American people who are jobless and homeless, they spend their time trying to figure out new ways to reduce our freedom of speech. Since they no longer have Bush around to do it without consulting anyone, they are now trying different ways to do it “legitimately”. Why dont they just all move and join Palin in Alaska.

Prosecute says:

Get your affairs in order

This Law is so technically incompetent it really makes me wonder…the people putting this together CANT be that blind, hell even the most simple google search will let a user change a MAC by typing “change mac address” and following the instructions or downloading a really easy to use program.
Ok then, lets assume the law makers have a basic elementary school knowledge of reading and computers, what then?

This is a frightening area of control, there are so many non technical people that could be jurors, all its takes a politician wanting to put another feather under their hat, a public defender with a attitude of let the India techs fix it, and you have instant ability to produce thousands or “prosecutions” for a outstanding record of some responsible free man or woman seeking to further their place in politics.

If we allow our government such free reign to put those that could be challenged to put up a defense to these allegations in a way a jury could understand, is our government any better than those that jail people for the color of their skin, or the religion they worship?

For me, if this is how its going, I better get my affairs in order, because even though I don’t view CP, nor really do anything considered illegal I really do not feel comfortable allowing such open threats to persecute people at a whim.

Nimo says:

BYEBYE Internet

I just have to say if this law is passed all its going to serve is costing lots of people money or time. As I read it if you stop using DHCP and maybe PPPoE this law no longer pertains to you. So if I am right in reading it as long as you assign your numbers staticly even if its nat numbers behind a nat device you no longer have to keep records of anything crossing your connection. As far as I know there is no law requiring you to keep track of static numbers so hand out as many as you want and keep going. If you make your nat range large enough, and someone asks you just say heck I cant keep 101998 ip addresses and their respective machines in my head SO SORRY! If it comes down to that I will just turn my internet off. Heck I can use the 100 to 200 dollars a month on other things. I will miss the free linux softwares that I so enjoy playing with but alas if thats the price of not being watched like a frigin ant in an antfarm so be it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not just the Internet

The “Retention of Certain Records and Information” applies not just to the Internet but any “electronic communication service or remote computing service”. That would include private networks that aren’t even connected to the Internet. And it requires the “the identity of a user” to be retained for two years, which means that it must first be ascertained. That probably means you would need to have photocopies of all user’s official IDs (driver’s license or passport, etc.) and you would also have to do that for anyone you let use your computer. The objective seems to be to identify the individual behind the keyboard at any time.

femtobeam (profile) says:

Wireless Security

As wireless users reach into the many billions worldwide and ID chips and bio implants do as well, the security of the wireless world becomes critical to our life expectancy. Right now, wireless technology via cell phone towers are used to correct heart problems with heart pacemaker implants. Hackers and unsecured networks could cause a problem instead. It is not difficult to recognize that children must be protected but how? The only way is to track malicious users who hide their identity, some because they want to “privately” attack children or engage in identity theft. How will things be corrected without an identifier and a data trail? On the other hand, hackers who want to destroy someone else can send and embed unlawful information on computers and you would never know it was there. The FBI would not have the time, the money, the personnel, the expertise, nor the storage space to deal with real time issues by seizing computers. Then everyone would have to go out and buy another one they can’t afford that has malicious software embedded in chips from Asia and elsewhere. This combined with spyware purposefully put in place by Sony, for which they received a slap on the wrist in Texas, and went into business with Cheney in UAE, would finally give them what they want… control over the standard. This is what the battle has been about for years and will be about for years to come… DOMINATION OF THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM.

? says:

So what if I say “Fuck off” while deleting my logs on the 729th day?Will some the FBI or cops suddenly pop-up at my front door? Another thing.I seriously doubt any router will even store ALL log entries for 2 yrs.Most routers simply dont have much storage capacity,and, as new log entries are made, previous older ones get deleted.An easy way to bypass this is to simply surf around aimlessly thus replacing older logs you dont want to be kept.Also, some routers are not log friendly;they just heat-up and crash,because of the added stress of logging every single log entry.

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