Thursday, June 01, 2006

US trying to sneak through data retention

Declan McCullagh reports that the US government is trying to intimidate ISPs into storing information about their customers for two years:

Attorney General Gonzales and FBI Director Mueller met with Internet and telecom companies (including Microsoft, Google, Verizon, and Comcast) last Friday and called on them to store data about users' activities for two years…

Looking ahead a few years, assuming that data retention is adopted, it's unclear that the Feds would stop there. Imagine a shocking horrible tragedy could have been prevented if only even more expansive laws had been adopted on top of data retention. The end game eventually could involve (a) making it unlawful to offer Internet access without verifying identities, effectively shutting down open WiFi nodes and (b) restricting the use of encryption and anonymity services -- after all, what good is a pile of retained data if it doesn't tell you very much?

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