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US government demands tougher ISP data retention laws

Antony Savvas

US attorney general Alberto Gonzales has asked the US senate to adopt new data retention legislation that would force ISPs to store customer logs on their web activity, to help police in their investigations.

US ISPs typically discard customer logs after a few months, but Gonzales has suggested that ISPs should be forced to keep the data for much longer.

ISPs are concerned that this will increase their  storage and management costs.

The European Parliament has already adopted data retention laws covering its 25 member states, which force ISPs and phone companies to keep logs on their customers for at least six months and for a maximum of two years.

Gonzales was appearing in front of a senate committee hearing about ways in which the fight against internet child abuse could be stepped up.

Gonzales said, “One thing we are examining is the retention of records by communications service providers. Several months ago, I established a working group within the Department of Justice that is looking at this issue.”

Gonzales also presented additional legislative proposals to the senators, which included “forcing ISPs to report violations of child pornography laws, by increasing the criminal penalties for knowing and wilful failure to do so”.

In addition, “warning labels to be placed on commercial websites containing sexually explicit material” could be brought in to protect children from legal porn.

Gonzales also proposed an extension to administrative subpoena powers currently available, and tighter money laundering laws to help convict those behind child abuse websites.

 


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