Government Pressure on Internet Service Providers regarding Data Retention

United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Muller held a meeting in which they urged telecommunications officials to record and maintain their customers’ Internet activities. During the closed door meeting with industry representatives, Gonzales and Muller urged the executives to maintain their customers’ subscriber information and network data for two years, according to two separate anonymous sources. This plea, which comes in the wake of Justice Department calls for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to retain records for “a reasonable amount of time,” further clarifies the stand taken by Attorney General Gonzales during a speech at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In addressing the issue of children exploited through the Internet, Gonzales’s remarks are considered to be a reversal in the Bush administration’s initial position on data retention. Prior to Gonzales making these public statements, the Bush Administration had maintained “serious reservations” about requiring ISPs to engage in data retention. But a series of well publicized debates on the exploitation of children via the Internet combined with work on data retention laws at the European Union led the Administration to “consider the policy more favorably.”

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

WHO OPPOSES SUCH LEGISLATION AND WHAT ARE THE OPPONENTS TO SUCH LEGISLATION ARGUING?
IS THERE OTHER PENDING LEGISLATION SEEKING TO EXTEND REGULATION OF DATA COLLECTION AND STORAGE?

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