Feds Propose Storing Internet User Data for 2 Years
In short, if approved, everybody from employers to ISPs to coffee shops and universities would be required to keep logs of all data associated with IP addresses assigned randomly to individual users – from e-mail logins to search queries to sites visited, legal experts said.
"This provides a historical picture of individuals that I think a lot of people think would find creepy," said Albert Gidari Jr., a Seattle attorney who successfully defended Google in the government’s bid to acquire billions of customer-search queries. "When you’re on the phone, there may be a phone record of what you called, but it doesn’t contain what you said. These proposals allow the government to get access to activity that they would never have before, because providers don’t keep it because of volume and cost.
The European Union has a similar law directed solely at ISPs.
Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, ISPs based in the United States must retain data affixed to an IP address for at least 90 days upon the request of law enforcement.
"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," said Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas), who introduced the Senate version.
The identical Senate and House proposals, first reported by CNET, have been floated unsuccessfully in the past. They are premised on nabbing child pornographers, but can be used for any law enforcement purposes.
The measures also open the door for such data to be obtained for private purposes as well, like the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America in their bids to limit online piracy, Gidari said.