Legal Issues

by Carlo Longino

Qwest Says Data Retention Laws Are A Great Idea

from the huh? dept

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 1:56pm

    Date retention requirements huh? That sounds like an awkward subpoena to respond to.

    Govt: We want you to supply us with July 16th, 2004
    ISP: huh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    NSMike, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 1:59pm

    Listening too closely...

    They might be following the market trend of Sony, deciding that since they've built up a significant amount of consumer good-will, they can afford to squander it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    DittoBox, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Listening too closely...

    Not "squander". The word you're looking for was "spend".


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 2:27pm

    I say boycott Qwest. Wait. I already have..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Chris, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 2:37pm

    I don't think the AOL debaucle is an illustration on the dangers of data retention. It shows the danger of RELEASING that information without fully thinking through the ramifications.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    rijit (profile), Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 5:49pm

    RE: Listening too closely

    After reading some articles on Google and their data retention policies and practices, I can see why Qwest would want to. The more they know about you, the better they can advertise to you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Former Qwest Subsriber, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:39pm

    I use to be a Qwest consumer until i read this article. This is really dissappointing not only as a former subscriber but as an American citizen our government has grown entirely to freaking lazy to do the work themselves so they have enlisted the help of big business in order to do their dirt for them. And i guess the constitution means absloutely crap now days apparently. Its kinda scary to know that every freakin move you make will be logged by these prics "just in case". If you ask me this is not a practicle goal for ISPs how many millions do you think they would spend just for data storage and not only that but at the same time they will lose revenue, the more customers find out about this the more that will leave..just my 2 cents

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    claire rand, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 12:13am

    yeah like thats gunna actually work

    theres a novel, 'oath of felity' i think its called. law enforcement types want 'all information' in a *single users* account, so they get it. as a print out, printed via a slow printer.

    oh and the account was 'padded' with a huge range of garbage too.

    can see this happening, gov suit walks up to jonny ISP and says "what ho! we need all records of data transmitted in the Derby area for 07/07/2005..

    which they then get... does anyone (gov suits especially) have *any idea* just how much data that will be? and in god alone knows how many formats, since you can bet ISP logs will vary over time in what they store..

    the only peeps i feel for are the poor sods whose desk all this lands on to 'sort through' presumably with some thing they are expected to find, and told to search until they do.

    job for life one feels but it sounds more like a prison sentance to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 4:01am

    Re: yeah like thats gunna actually work

    Fantastic idea, all the people that get arrested for computer crimes can spend their sentences filtering through logs to convict other people. I'm surprised they haven't thought of this yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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