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  1. #1
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    Republican Bill proposes ISPs, Wi-Fi keep logs for police

    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.
    The legislation, which echoes a measure proposed by one of their Democratic colleagues three years ago, would impose unprecedented data retention requirements on a broad swath of Internet access providers and is certain to draw fire from businesses and privacy advocates.
    "While the Internet has generated many positive changes in the way we communicate and do business, its limitless nature offers anonymity that has opened the door to criminals looking to harm innocent children," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said at a press conference on Thursday. "Keeping our children safe requires cooperation on the local, state, federal, and family level."
    Joining Cornyn was Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who said such a measure would let "law enforcement stay ahead of the criminals."
    Two bills have been introduced so far--S.436 in the Senate and H.R.1076 in the House. Each of the companion bills is titled "Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act," or Internet Safety Act.
    Each contains the same language: "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."
    Translated, the Internet Safety Act applies not just to AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and so on--but also to the tens of millions of homes with Wi-Fi access points or wired routers that use the standard method of dynamically assigning temporary addresses. (That method is called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP.)
    "Everyone has to keep such information," says Albert Gidari, a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm in Seattle who specializes in this area of electronic privacy law.
    The legal definition of electronic communication service is "any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications." The U.S. Justice Department's position is that any service "that provides others with means of communicating electronically" qualifies.
    That sweeps in not just public Wi-Fi access points, but password-protected ones too, and applies to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities, and even government agencies. Voice over IP services may be covered too.
    Under the Internet Safety Act, all of those would have to keep logs for at least two years. It "covers every employer that uses DHCP for its network," Gidari said. "It covers Aircell on airplanes--those little pico cells will have to store a lot of data for those in-the-air Internet users."
    In the Bush administration, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had called for a very similar proposal, saying that subscriber information and network data should be logged for two years.
    Until Gonzales' remarks in 2006, the Bush administration had generally opposed laws requiring data retention, saying it had "serious reservations" about them. But after the European Parliament approved such a requirement for Internet, telephone and VoIP providers, top administration officials began talking about the practice more favorably.
    After Gonzales left the Justice Department, the political will for data retention legislation seemed to ebb for a time, but then FBI Director Robert Mueller resumed lobbying efforts last spring.
    This tends to be a bipartisan sentiment: Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat, said in 1999 that "certain data must be retained by ISPs for reasonable periods of time so that it can be accessible to law enforcement." Rep. John Conyers, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that FBI proposals for data retention legislation "would be most welcome."
    Smith, who sponsored the House version of the Internet Safety Act, had previously introduced a one-year requirement as part of a law-and-order agenda in 2007.
    A 1996 federal law called the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act regulates data preservation. It requires Internet providers to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon the request of a governmental entity."
    Because Internet addresses remain a relatively scarce commodity, ISPs tend to allocate them to customers from a pool based on whether a computer is in use at the time. (Two standard techniques used are the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet.)
    In addition, Internet providers are required by another federal law to report child pornography sightings to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is in turn charged with forwarding that report to the appropriate police agency.
    The Internet Safety Act is broader than just data retention. Other portions add criminal penalties to other child pornography-related offenses, increase penalties for sexual exploitation of minors, and give the FBI an extra $30 million for the "Innocent Images National Initiative."

  2. #2
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    Why not? Communist China already does it. I have no problem with some protections on child porn, but this looks pretty big brotherish to me. What's next, opening our mail and reading it before we get it?
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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  3. #3
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    This the electronic form of a telephone pin register, isn't it?

    It's not quite the same as intercepting messages or a wiretap, it's just a record of "who" you've talked to.

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  4. #4
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    The Detective in me doesn't have a problem with it, but the Libertarian in me does. What's a guy to think?

    I guess if I had to choose an opinion one way or the other, I'd agree with Retdetsgt- it's too big-brotherish.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

  5. #5
    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXCharlie View Post
    This the electronic form of a telephone pin register, isn't it?

    It's not quite the same as intercepting messages or a wiretap, it's just a record of "who" you've talked to.
    I don't see that restriction anywhere in this article. In fact, both bills say:

    `(a) Offense- Whoever, being an Internet content hosting provider or email service provider, knowingly engages in any conduct the provider knows or has reason to believe facilitates access to, or the possession of, child pornography (as defined in section 2256) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

    How are they going to know if someone is downloading porn if they're not monitoring and keeping records? That means they can keep a log of everything you do and it will be subject to federal oversight.

    If you have PC to believe someone is engaged in that, it's easy enough to get a warrant. I just have an aversion to government "fishing without a license".

    I don't consider myself a Libratarin, but I was in LE long enough to know the government can't be trusted to do the right thing when given blanket authority.
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    I
    How are they going to know if someone is downloading porn if they're not monitoring and keeping records? That means they can keep a log of everything you do and it will be subject to federal oversight.

    If you have PC to believe someone is engaged in that, it's easy enough to get a warrant. I just have an aversion to government "fishing without a license".

    I don't consider myself a Libratarin, but I was in LE long enough to know the government can't be trusted to do the right thing when given blanket authority.

    I agree 100%. This is 100% wrong and it makes me mad as hell!

  7. #7
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    What bothers me more is Republicans becoming whores for Democrats.
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  8. #8
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    I'm unclear if this law would set a uniform retention policy for data which is already being collected or if it is further reaching.

    If this is only extending the retention of data the ISP already logs, I'm more annoyed for them than concerned about privacy.

    *Current example : RIAA finds an IP naughtily downloading a mp3. They write a letter to the ISP saying the IP 127.0.0.1 on 2008-11-27:15:28:02 was logged accessing copyrighted content. The ISP looks at their logs and forwards it to the person paying for that account.

    If this does, as the writer implies, move that logging up the chain, I'm very concerned. Not only for privacy reasons, but for economic development and internet innovation reasons.

    Need more information how this will be implemented before I know how to express my opinion. Generally speaking though, I doubt this will accomplish the intended goal. On those grounds, I'm opposed.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtbear111 View Post
    What bothers me more is Republicans becoming whores for Democrats.
    As much as I hate to admit it, liberals have always been more protective of our rights (other than gun) than conservatives. This isn't the Republicans playing into the hands of the Democrats. This kind of stuff always comes from the law and order types of the Republican party that have always been there. If it were up to some, police would be able to search you, your car and your house with the least reasonable suspicion, much like a whole lot of countries I don't want to live in.

    I was a uniform cop for 10 years and an investigator for 18 years and I lost very few cases because of bad searches. Just about all of those were lost because the rules changed after the case went to court. People that cry and moan the most about due process are the ones too lazy or too dumb to work within the court guidelines. I've always realized that anything I do to anyone else might be done to me someday. That's why I want reasonable constraints on people trying to infringe on my privacy no matter what political party they belong to.
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    People that cry and moan the most about due process are the ones too lazy or too dumb to work within the court guidelines. I
    Yep. Rep sent.
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  11. #11
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    Lets see the economy is in the toliet and we don't have enough money to do the things that are already in place( crime labs, funding for training,equitment, pay raises, more officers, and on and on.

    Who is gonna pay for all this the money faires?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    What's next, opening our mail and reading it before we get it?

    Uh, they already do that.
    I'm your huckleberry...

    Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    Uh, they already do that.
    Please explain.... I haven't gotten any US mail that appears to have been tampered with.

    Are you talking about identifying key words in email? Yeah, I know about that, but I never put anything in an email that I care if is read by someone else or not.
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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  14. #14
    MacLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    Please explain.... I haven't gotten any US mail that appears to have been tampered with.
    You probably are not likely to - wrong profile.

    It is simple beyond belief to obtain a mail stop, where any mail to a specific person or specific address is examined.

    Not agreeing with the process, just pointing out it happens.

    The email thing you are talking about was "Carnivore." Scary stuff, that.
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  15. #15
    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    It is simple beyond belief to obtain a mail stop, where any mail to a specific person or specific address is examined.
    Isn't some sort of court order necessary for that?
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    Isn't some sort of court order necessary for that?
    That depends, but this is not my area of expertise. I've seen it done, but have not done it.

    I do know that if it comes from outside the US, the courts have held the "border search" exception follows it all the way until it reaches the intended recipient.

    I'll ask the postal inspector next time I turn over stolen mail.

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    I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
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  17. #17
    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    It seems in my distant memory a case where one of the other detectives had a mail stop going, but all he could get was who and where the bad guy was getting the mail, he didn't have actual access to what the mail contained. I have no idea what he had to do to get even that though. That's not as intrusive as actually reading the mail though. I would be surprised if they could invade privacy like that w/o some sort of court sanction.

    If you find out, I'd be curious.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retdetsgt View Post
    If you find out, I'd be curious.
    Will do!
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    I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
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  19. #19
    Retdetsgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    I do know that if it comes from outside the US, the courts have held the "border search" exception follows it all the way until it reaches the intended recipient.
    Yeah, customs laws give feds all sorts of rights. I took a 2 week training once that enabled me to enforce limited custom laws for a while when I worked dope.

    One of the things I learned that surprised me was that if you can follow someone directly from an international flight or a ship arriving from a foreign country to a residence w/o losing sight of them, you can search that residence without a warrant.

    Border related laws have little to do with domestic rights.
    When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)

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