Senators Call For Mandatory Data Retention For Telcos Following The Section 215 Shutdown

from the quick,-before-the-Man-has-it-stuck-to-him-by-reprobate-corporate-giants! dept

Now that the NSA's bulk phone metadata collection has actually ceased to exist (in this particular form, anyway…), low-level panic has begun to set in. With the NSA no longer able to obtain and store phone records in bulk, some legislators are now concerned telcos will use their control of these records to thwart the intelligence agency.

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Angus King (I-Maine) on Thursday introduced a bill requiring telephone companies to notify the government if they plan on altering their policies for storing consumers’ phone data.

[...]

The new bill from King and Cotton would force companies to give the Justice Department at least 180 days notice if they plan to retain the call records for less than 18 months. The bill is called the Private Sector Call Record Retention Act.

“Our legislation would simply require that U.S. officials are provided with adequate warning if a company decides it no longer will hold these vital records, allowing time to ensure that we don’t lose a potentially valuable tool in the battle against terrorism,” King said in a statement.
This is Cotton's baby. After all, he's been trying to block the implementation of the USA Freedom Act's surveillance reforms since the terrorist attacks in Paris, after months of being a vocal opponent of the legislation.

Critics of the new process -- where the NSA takes its reasonable suspicion-supported court orders to telephone companies to obtain call data -- somehow believe these companies, which historically have been enthusiastic enablers of dragnet surveillance, will suddenly decide to start deleting records just to screw with the government.

Beyond the fact that telcos tend to be proactive in their "assistance" of intelligence and law enforcement agencies is the fact that these companies have never before expressed a desire to hastily delete phone records. They've held onto them for indefinite periods of time -- not out of deference to the NSA, FBI, et al, but because extended retention is obviously of some value to these companies. It makes no sense to assume they'll suddenly alter their retention tactics just because they no longer need to produce all phone records in rolling three-month blocks.

That's not the only ridiculous fear being voiced. The other asinine assertion is that the program is somehow integral to combating terrorism. Over the past couple of years, the debate has raged and supporters of the program have insisted the program has paid its debt to the Fourth Amendment several times over with all the terrorism it's stopped… all without presenting any evidence that backs these statements up.

This sort of legislation does nothing but impose additional government requirements on data retention. This is no different than what was (temporarily) put in place in the UK -- legislative demands for the onsite storage of records companies may not even need, simply because the government has decided it does. This isn't an idea our legislators should be emulating, but unsurprisingly, the stoutest supporters of domestic surveillance are using a terrorist attack in another country to make a play for expanded government power.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:16pm

    Ah yes, the twin tenants of avoiding the 4th amendment:

    Declare such records 3rd party and of no privacy interest

    Mandate companies retain such records so that they can always be requested.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 5:30pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 7th, 2015 @ 2:16pm

      One the record are mandated don't they become government records so then EVERYONE would have standing on the 'collection' of them?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:27pm

    Costructive Solutions

    How about we get ourselves a Constitutional amendment that requires congress critters to follow all laws, forbids them to exempt themselves from anything, and requires them to turn themselves over to federal marshals for long term incarceration and loss of office immediately upon proposing or voting for any law that MIGHT be in conflict with the Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, or the remaining amendments of the constitution.

    I have a fairly long list of reforms needed to correct some of our current issues, but this is a start. The problem is getting the current corrupt system to implement it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:32pm

    insisted the program has paid its debt to the Fourth Amendment several times over with all the terrorism it's stopped
    Even if they produced such evidence, that would not justify the program. A violation of the Fourth Amendment is not retroactively legalized because it happened to serve a law enforcement purpose (though some courts seem loathe to accept that).

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:32pm

    With the current business model of charging per minute or x minutes a month, the companies can't delete this information.

    If they don't have it, they can't validate their billing is correct and they can't get paid. They don't need to keep it forever, but realistically they need it for a minimum of 6 months and likely a year.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:38pm

      Re:

      >If they don't have it, they can't validate their billing is correct and they can't get paid.

      With prepaid users ostensibly they don't need to keep call details metadata at all.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re:

        They need to be able to prove they billed correctly. What if I dispute the billing and claim there is a mistake?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:35pm

    Look at all the terrorism this data has stopped!

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 7 Dec 2015 @ 2:48pm

    How do we know that bulk phone collection even ended, and didn't just switch over to a Plan B legal justification, like an 11th hour executive order or something?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 3:21pm

    Is it wrong to feel that the terrorists would actually make better senators?

    The only good news to come out of any of this is the knowledge that every one of these slimy congress critters will someday be rotting in the ground and nothing but a footnote in history.

    There were a lot of nasty people in the past who thought what they wanted was best and very few of them are even remembered.

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

    • identicon
      Personanongrata, 7 Dec 2015 @ 4:28pm

      Re: Is it wrong to feel that the terrorists would actually make better senators?

      Truth be known the senators operate at the epicenter of the greatest terror organization the world has ever known:

      the US government.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 4:35pm

      Re: Is it wrong to feel that the terrorists would actually make better senators?

      You have to remember the current regime views the founding fathers as terrorists.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 3:21pm

    wow
    data retention laws like in Germany?

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 7 Dec 2015 @ 4:20pm

    The King and I a Defective Dystopia by Cotton Picking Crazy

    Senators Call For Mandatory Data Retention For Telcos Following The Section 215 Shutdown

    The height of defective thinking from Tom Cotton and Angus King:

    If we don't turn the nation into a totalitarian surveillance state the terrorists will win.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 4:22pm

    How are they supposed to get their blackmail material if they cannot illegaly spy on the citizenry

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

  • identicon
    renegadegrammarian, 7 Dec 2015 @ 5:34pm

    AC says the wackiest things

    Twin tenants?  How did apartment leases enter into the discussion?  (The word is tenets.)

    Loathe is a verb.  Please drop the e for "courts seem loath to accept."

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

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 8 Dec 2015 @ 12:28am

    I don't have a problem if the bill mandates they be told ahead of time if there is a change of storage policy.

    If it allows them a degree of comfort lets compromise a little.

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

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 8 Dec 2015 @ 8:27am

    WHooowah!

    WHOOOWAH! FUCKING COTTON!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 9 Dec 2015 @ 1:43pm

    Charge the fuckers $1 billion per letter, line or number.

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


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