Feeds

Gonzales calls for ISP data retention laws

How else to catch child porn viewers?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The US Attorney General has asked senators to pass a data retention law for telcos and ISPs. Alberto Gonzales told a Senate panel that such a law would help to prosecute child pornographers.

Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have discussed the proposal with ISPs who have considered lengthening their current retention periods on a voluntary basis to avoid legislation. ISPs tend to oppose data retention laws because of the increased cost and responsibility it puts on them.

"This is a problem that requires federal legislation," said Gonzales at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee. "We need information. Information helps us make cases."

The Banking Committee was investigating ways of combating child pornography and has also been looking into how co-operation with credit card companies could help, as well as how ISPs could help law enforcement.

"We have to find a way for internet service providers to retain information for a period of time so we can go back with a legal process to get them," said Gonzales.

Any data retention law would not preserve the content of communications, only logs of email, internet and phone activity. The telecoms companies would keep the data and it could be accessed only by court order in the same way as a physical search.

A letter to Congress recently contained the support of 49 state attorneys general for a law mandating data retention.

Data retention laws have been passed across Europe and earlier this year a EU Data Retention Directive was passed. Civil liberties groups often oppose the move, though, because the information can be used for other purposes, not just for chasing child pornographers, and because it could leak out of the telcos or government agencies.

In Ireland a case has just been launched by TJ McIntyre of Digital Rights Ireland. It believes that the Irish data retention law is unconstitutional and that the EU Directive violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

"If we're successful it will strike down the Data Retention Directive and that will invalidate a lot of the data retention laws across Europe," McIntyre told OUT-LAW. "We're hoping that there will be a knock on effect. A ruling on the human rights case would be very persuasive for national courts."

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.