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FBI Head Wants Strong Data Retention Rules 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-know-everything dept.
KevHead writes "Speaking at a conference of international police chiefs, FBI Director Robert Mueller called for strict data retention guidelines for US ISPs. Echoing DHS head Michael Cherthoff's assertion that the Internet was enabling terrorists to telecommute to work, Mueller went further and said that the US needs stricter data retention guidelines. '"All too often, we find that before we can catch these offenders, Internet service providers have unwittingly deleted the very records that would help us identify these offenders and protect future victims," Mueller said. The solution? Forcing ISPs to retain data for set periods of time.' If that happens, how long before the MPAA and RIAA start asking to take a peek at the data too, as they have in Europe?"
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FBI Head Wants Strong Data Retention Rules

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  • ugh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rooked_One (591287) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:46AM (#16497933) Journal
    I know of people who recieve cardboard boxes from FEDEX filled with 20 lbs of weed... I think the internet is the least of our problems.
    • Re:ugh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cloricus (691063) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:52AM (#16497973)
      Agreed. I also have a few troubles with the arguement here... "We are going to retain data in America to catch terrorists in other countries like Iran and Iraq!" ...Does any one else smell 'omg teh terrorists r coming lol all j00r privacy r belong to us?'
      • by hummassa (157160) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:10AM (#16499205) Homepage Journal
        His plan goes like:
        1. make some attacks to high-profile targets in US and its allies
        2. see how those people will (slowly but surely) erode their civil liberties and transform _their_ countries in the same kind of totalitarian theocracies as Taliban-Afghanistan
        3. ???
        4. Profit!!!
        PS. too bad those intelligent, enlightened, Spanish people saw right thru our plan and threw Aznar off.
        • by cloricus (691063)
          I got modded +5 insightful above though I find the simple act that your post got modded insightful instead of funny an insight into how scary the world is today outside of the fake fear of terrorists and other horrible axis. I wonder if anything will save us? :|
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      dude..why you postin that shiznat... at least hook a nigga up..
    • Man, that is a War on Drugs issue. We're in a War on Terror right now. Try to keep up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oc255 (218044)
        I thought we were fighting both. And the war on poverty. And the war on illiteracy. And the war on AIDS, pollution, hunger, disease. No wonder why we can't keep up (.. the focus and funding).
        • Re:DUDE! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@ ... Do.com minus bsd> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @11:36AM (#16502245) Homepage Journal
          I thought we were fighting both. And the war on poverty. And the war on illiteracy. And the war on AIDS, pollution, hunger, disease. No wonder why we can't keep up (.. the focus and funding).

          No no - just drugs and terror.

          See, poverty, illiteracy, AIDS, pollution, hunger, disease - and those you didn't mention like genocide, etc., are too hot politically to be fought, for they provide no gain to the government.

          Drugs and terror... and let's go ahead and add child porn... allow the government a "war" that can be used to justify reductions in personal privacy, massive amounts of data collection, and emboldening of the Executive.

          Those other "wars" are just hippie rally-cries. Duh.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ConceptJunkie (24823) *
          No, we are fighting Terror. We have always been fighting Terror. Drugs are our ally. We have always been allies with Eastasia, I mean, Drugs.

           
    • 1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SammysIsland (705274)
      The internet is not the least of my worries, nor is the RIAA or MPAA the most of my worries. The government enacts data retention laws under the guise of 'neccessary to catch terrorists' when in reality they will use this data for any snooping they would like to do. After this law is passed without a sunset clause, the next law will be a change in requirements to access this data such as the current circumvention of warrants for phone taps.

      It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the progression.
  • Data Retention... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGreatHegemon (956058) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:52AM (#16497971)
    A broken solution for a non-existent problem.
    • by hdparm (575302)
      Well put. BTW, is this your normal nick or purposefuly created just for this story?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cluckshot (658931)

      I worked in a prison as a health care worker a few years ago. During that time I learned that this prision hospital was run by sex offenders. Prisons are run by the inmates if people outside them do not know. This prison hospital in Nashville Tennessee had its "rock men" (prison laborers) all being sex offenders. During that time I learned a lot about sex offenders.

      The general profile of a sex offender is someone who cannot control their impulses sexually in some area. Generally they are fairly charism

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by WhatDoIKnow (962719)
        "The FBI doesn't even answer their phone in Alabama! Try dialing if you doubt me!"

        They probably have caller ID...
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        Apperently the FBI is very busy at the moment pursuing corrupt polititons and party appointed public officials, which has earnt it the emnity of the current administration.

        An FBI that doesn't pursue a party preffered lobbyist line is an FBI that is dangerously out of control? It seems to me that they have been pretty effective of late, not that it would require any great effort, there seems to be quite a few blatanly corrupt targets for them aim at (and they might be aiming pretty high), and come December

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by careykohl (682513)

        The whole war on terror is nothing but an effort to relieve the citizens of their rights.

        • Billions of dollars for a border wall that not only won't work, but would be a logistical nightmare to actually build
        • Billions of dollars for radiation monitors at our ports that don't actually monitor the types of radiation likely to be used in any kind of attack
        • Billions of dollars to defend areas in this country that the average American hasn't even heard from terror attacks that aren't even remotely likely
        • Bill
      • by pete6677 (681676)
        I didn't know they gave internet access to inmates in teh insane asylum. Seriously, this is the most disjointed paranoid rant of a post I've seen in a long time. Put the tin foil hat back on.
    • And in other News (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Instine (963303)
      Mouse Wants More Cheese!
    • by Instine (963303)
      "A broken solution for a non-existent problem."

      Then I hope they checked for patent infringement...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:54AM (#16497985)
    I used darkstat once on 2 T1's for a 24 hour period just the URL log was over 500MB, no packet captures, no session data.
    Just imagine an OC-3, you are talking about a lot of storage space.
    • by Incadenza (560402) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @04:10AM (#16498435)
      In the Netherlands the NBIP [www.nbip.nl] just released the numbers of government ordered Internet-taps for January till September this year:

      Number of taps: 31
      Cost per tap: EUR 9.500 (US$ 11.900)
      Compensation per tap: EUR 13 (US$ 16)

      How much was that SAN again?
      • Thats 11,900 you snivelling EUian b4stards. Join the goddamned rest of the world already :P
      • Ok, I can see not reading the article. The articles are sometimes long. I can even imagine not reading the summary... the summaries have lots of words in them, too. I can even see blindly clicking the link without looking at the headline. But... dude... you managed to skip the article, the summary, and even the text "FBI Head Wants Strong Data Retention Rules" that's up at the top of your browser window. (hint: "retention" means "retaining it until they ask for it", not waiting until they request a "ta

  • why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @02:56AM (#16497995) Homepage
    Mueller went further and said that the US needs stricter data retention guidelines.

    With the AT&Ts "collaboration" with the NSA, and CARNIVORE, one would think the government already has all the tools they need. Are they now saying that's not enough? That's kind of pathetic, don't you think?
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:23AM (#16498159)
      Despite all the statistical evidence that this does NOT work to PREVENT any "terrorist" acts ... they will attempt to use this to intimidate people into voluntarily restricting their actions.

      When every search / posting / IM / etc from you is available to elected officials (and may be accidentally "leaked"), they hope that most people will self-censor their activities to only items that would be "appropriate".

      Should you ever take a stand against the elected officials, they will have access to your records ... but you will not have access to their's. Asymmetrical. And because they are the government, they can release only the information they want from your records. Only the information that shows that you are really a wannabe child molesting, America hating, terrorist loving, Communistic, gay atheist.

      It's all about maintaining power and control.
      • by aaza (635147) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:41AM (#16498271)
        I would like to see this for all "we are observing you for your own good" type legislation:

        The first step is to try it out on politicians (they are public figures, after all), with the information being freely available to anyone who wants it. No FOI requests, just a wget (or similar) from a webserver. Severe penalties if that information is not available. Naturally, servers do go down, and that's fine, but that information should be available within 24 hours of it being recorded.

        If they are willing to do that, then maybe they could be allowed to do it to the public. I think there would be a severe reduction in stupid laws if politicians (but not other members of the public) were subjected to them during a trial period, with the general public being able to see the results.

      • Despite all the statistical evidence that this does NOT work to PREVENT any "terrorist" acts ... they will attempt to use this to intimidate people into voluntarily restricting their actions.

        What evidence? Something along the lines of: "Log all network traffic of 300 million Americans, forming vast haystack, in which is one terrorist needle that you can't find, therefore it doesnt' work." Something like that?

        I don't suppose that tracking and focusing on known terrorists, or communications with sites with kn
    • Re:why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by whathappenedtomonday (581634) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @06:25AM (#16499003) Journal
      one would think the government already has all the tools they need. Are they now saying that's not enough?

      They already have a lot of data, but that's not what it's all about:

      "Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the Internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday."

      So, it's not just Terrorists (TM) anymore, it's the "disaffected" they're after.
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2574462

      • Re:why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:41AM (#16500557)
        So, it's not just Terrorists (TM) anymore, it's the "disaffected" they're after.

        And if you're not with us, you're "disaffected."

        KFG
        • And if you're not with us, you're "disaffected."

          If I had mod points, would mod this comment up.

          Are we such cowards that we let the administration get away with this?
          Are we such cowards that we are afraid of justice (habeus corpus)?
          Are we so lazy we want to hand over our duty of vigilence to the police? We are citizens; it is not our duty to pay attention to the country and notice threats against it?
          Are we so terrorized we will give up our power to a 'protector government'?

          Bah!

    • With the AT&Ts "collaboration" with the NSA, and CARNIVORE, one would think the government already has all the tools they need. Are they now saying that's not enough? That's kind of pathetic, don't you think?

      No, it just may mean that they aren't doing what you think they are doing in the way you think they are doing it, if they are doing anything at all.

      There are plenty of cases where people "know" the government is doing things, which are false or absurd. Fake moon landings and some of the wilder stor
    • by pimpimpim (811140)
      Yes, and I am actually surprised they tried to pull the 'it's against the terrorists' trick again, I thought it had lost all its believability already. Couldn't they just have said that it was for 'catching pedophiles'? That one works always!

      It's news like this that makes me appreciate the movie V for Vendetta. How many of you now read this news and not think 'What a load of bullshit!'.

  • Print it out as it happens, on a dotmatrix line printer, on that awful blue and white tractor feed paper. As an archive box fills up, FedEx it to the FBI, with payment from recipient. Alternatively, store the (unnumbered) archive box in a damp warehouse. When they ask for it, show them where it is.

    There's no rule about how to store it, is there?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by speculatrix (678524)
      I make a backup of all unwanted logs on /dev/null

      I get a really really good compression ratio

      I'll leave it to the govmint to try and extract it; I tell them they can recover lost data from /dev/random!

  • by slaida1 (412260) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:05AM (#16498065)
    Database poisoning, ie. entering information that is not only bogus but also harmful, making previously useful lookups turn back so much garbage that real info is hard to find. In other words, some kind of proxy program on client side that loads pages from given list of addresses. That list can be composed of all sites possibly under surveillance. It randomly loads pages in the background, makes google searches with offending words, but doesn't bother user with the data it loads.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:06AM (#16498075) Homepage

    Add stopping this to the list of "things to do after the Democrats take over Congress".

    Don't forget to vote, everybody.

    And remember, as one leading Democrat has said, if Democrats control either house, there's going to be "oversight, oversight, oversight". Look how much has come out with the Republicans in charge: everything from the plan to divide up northern Iraq amongst oil companies to the CIA's torture program. There has to be more stuff we haven't heard about. Look forward to people like the FBI Director testifying under oath before Congress. Coming soon to a C-SPAN channel near you.

    You might also want to volunteer to be a poll watcher, especially if you're in a state with Diebold voting machines.

    • by finkployd (12902) * on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:12AM (#16499603) Homepage
      I'm sorry, the same party that pushed Clipper? If you think this stuff is going to change one bit under the Democrats you are delusional. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons for vote for anyone but Republicians these days, but this is not one of them. When it comes to spying on citizens, the party in power wants it bad, and the minority party becomes the voice of privacy and government restraint. It was not that long ago that Ashcroft was the pro-privacy, anti-clipper chip crusader. I fully expect that everything the Democrats are saying about government oversight and privacy will be completely forgotten when they get into power.

      Finkployd
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Greyfox (87712)
        Sure, the Democrats are probably just as corrupt as the Republicans. It doesn't really matter who is in office, what does matter is keeping the turnover high so that Congressmen can't become entrenched enough to gain any significant power. The two party system currently in place is like telling every citizen, "OK you can be a pothead or a homosexual, which is it?" Tough luck if neither one of those things describes you.

        It's still important to get out there and vote so that you can help keep that Congressi

    • by MoneyT (548795)
      Ah yes, the democratic party. The same party that voted YES for the PATRIOT ACT without even reading the damn thing. The party which brought you such brilliant legislation as the Assault Weapons Ban and the DMCA. The party whose dumbest mouthpiece said "We're going to take things away from you for your own good" and who's collosal corruption was made evident by looking at the hell hole that is New Orleans. Face it pal, the democrats are no better than the republicans. If you want real change you're actualy
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Fuck the Demoquaks and Repigs both. Vote Libertarian or Independent if you want decent candidates. A lot of Repubs want a theocracy and security state. Demos want a pseudo-socialist politically correct can't-say-anything-that-offends-anyone nanny state, with a healthy shot of security paranoia thrown in by the East Coast Demos. No thanks to either vision!

      -b.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:11AM (#16498101)
    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him"

    -Cardinal Richelieu (French Minister and Cardinal. 1585-1642)
    • by Toba82 (871257)
      If only I had mod points. That's one of my favorites as well.

    • I don't think the vile Cardinal had to convince a jury of his peers, and answer endless appeals through several levels of appeals courts.

      Wrong outcomes are still possible under the American system, but I think your odds are much better than under the French monarchy.
      • by Mr2cents (323101)
        Irrelevant. If you can smear out these "fact" in the media long enough, it will ruin your life. Even if you win the case in court, you will have lost a lot.
      • by finkployd (12902) * on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:16AM (#16499621) Homepage
        I don't think the vile Cardinal had to convince a jury of his peers, and answer endless appeals through several levels of appeals courts.

        No, he probably just could detain them without trials, access to an attorney, letting them know what they are accused of, or any evidence against them. Maybe he labeled them "enemy conbatents" or something.

        Finkployd
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:12AM (#16498113) Homepage Journal
    if the people who make legislation actually had some idea about the problem the legislation was supposed to solve? Or, ya know, refused to vote for something they didn't understand? Just a simple "introduction to hacking" course would help so many of them recognise that data retention aint going to help you track a hacker. I hate to say it, but I honestly think the only way to "police the Internet" is to give policing powers to a police force. Those powers would include the right to enter systems without permission, install logging software, etc. Question is, who would you want to trust with that much power?
       
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by panaceaa (205396)
      data retention aint going to help you track a hacker.

      This is logically false. I can give you a theoretical and a practical example. Theoretically, any information is more helpful than no information. The only practical exception would be polluting good information with bad information, but since this information would be logically separate from existing information, this problem would not exist.

      Practically, have you ever tracked down a hacker at your company? Logs are the BEST place to do this. Look fo
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        pollution is exactly the problem. When tracing hackers you can't trust that data. ISPs don't have good security. Hackers connect to things like wireless access points, jump through unsecured web servers, back through unsecured home PCs, etc, etc. Supposing you get ISPs to retain connection times for dialup users, what the hell does that tell you? Do you honestly think a hacker is connecting via a dialup? Connection times for DSL? Cable? Forget about it. So what are ISPs supposed to do? Run intrusi
    • by Tim C (15259)
      Those powers would include the right to enter systems without permission

      They can have that right, as long as I have the right to do everything in my power to secure the systems under my control. If not, and I have to leave a backdoor open for them, then I might as well just give up and switch them off, as they'll be wide open to anyone with knowledge of the backdoor.
  • by r_naked (150044)

    Republicans or Democrats in office will not matter. The US has started down a road that has no end (at least not a pretty one).

    So if you can't change them, change yourself. Come be part of the solution [anonet.org].

  • The Fifth Wave* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:18AM (#16498139) Journal
    Nobody starts the morning with the goal of "Today I will convert our system of government into a totalitarian autocracy" -- no good person, or group of people would willingly do that.

    However, by one tiny chip of compromise after another, one infinitesimal shift to accommodate a "reasonable response" after another, a group of people can turn into "The (choose ethnic group) Problem" and suddenly it's okay to treat people as things, the only capital crime there is. You never quite know where you cross the line and suddenly you have become the enemy your grandparents fought war, bloody war to prevent from turning the future into a long night of horror.

    Will you have the courage to say "NO" to the new Gestapo? They're just nice guys like you who have a job to do, y'know? Or will you draw a line somewhere and say "At long last, Mr. McCarthy, have you no shame?"

    (*Title refers to the short story in The Last Whole Earth Catalog. Find it and read it. Was a school experiment designed to show how good people could turn into black, black Nazis and why there were no Nazi's in Germany after the war. Scares the tar out of me, more so as the days go by.)

    • However, by one tiny chip of compromise after another, one infinitesimal shift to accommodate a "reasonable response" after another, a group of people can turn into "The (choose ethnic group) Problem" and suddenly it's okay to treat people as things, the only capital crime there is. You never quite know where you cross the line and suddenly you have become the enemy your grandparents fought war, bloody war to prevent from turning the future into a long night of horror.

      This is utter bull. The crimes are plan
      • Re:The Fifth Wave* (Score:5, Insightful)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:25AM (#16499293)
        Donating to charity acting as a front to funnel money to terrorist organizations is a crime.

        We're all very glad of that over in the UK, by the way. Otherwise, just imagine how much money the IRA would have been able to raise from American donations! Fortunately, the US government always took a very hard line on this and made sure that their citizens were not responsible for funding a terror campaign against their own allies.

  • by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:26AM (#16498179)

    Since the terrorists will be using encrypted messages or coded messages which don't appear to be anything special (you know those -1 Slashdot comments are for something), this will help retrace the terrorist's online activities after people have died in a terrorist attack. My guess: lots of porn and a few messages to E-mail accounts which no longer exist.

    It's just that there are so many disposable E-mail accounts available and the easy access to Internet cafes. If someone is using a disposable E-mail account and an Internet terminal which is paid for in loose change (usually used in airports), how are you going to track that person down one month later? What if the terminal is outside the United States?

    Not to mention free Linksys brand wireless Internet access which is available in most areas.

    Any government fighting terrorists needs to setup its own terrorist propaganda websites which make use of Microsoft Internet Explorer's many vulnerabilities. Spyware for the spies. Microsoft's poor security practices not only hurt you, they also hurt the terrorists. Of course terrorists using Firefox screws us all.

    • by asuffield (111848)

      Since the terrorists will be using encrypted messages or coded messages which don't appear to be anything special (you know those -1 Slashdot comments are for something), this will help retrace the terrorist's online activities after people have died in a terrorist attack.

      Which is precisely why we don't need it. After the 9/11 incident, the US intelligence agencies were able to conclusively prove, from data collected before the incident, that it had happened. We do not have a data collection problem, so any

  • by pieterh (196118) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:28AM (#16498185) Homepage
    Here's the trick. Don't scare your population with too many moves at once. Take away their freedoms one by one, starting with the ones no-one really cares about. Let other countries take one step too far, and if their populations don't squeal, make a further step yourself.

    So the EU enacted its spy state law last year, while people said, "even the states does not go that far". The EU Data Retention Directive wants (it needs to be ratified by individual countries) to track every phone call made, every email sent, every web site visited, every cell phone location, and hold this data for over a decade. The data would be available to non-governmental organisations (private firms). Anonymous internet usage would be banned. Anonymous prepaid mobile phone cards would be banned. All this, of course, to save us from terrorism and organised crime.

    And the UK has constructed a surveillance system that beats anything ever built by the soviet spy states. Every public urban space is monitored, recorded, tracked. The only privacy you have is in your home, where you are safely under house arrest, unable to do anything to damage the interests of the state.

    It was just a matter of time before the FBI asked for the same powers. What police force would not? It's a copper's wet dream. Every one of us stinking criminals-in-waiting tracked like cockroaches in a pen. No more crime. No more disorder. No more rebellion.
  • by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:32AM (#16498217) Homepage
    I would hope that the UK's Data Protection Rules [direct.gov.uk] will basically tell the US to get lost if they come knocking. However as there is the special relationship I expect it will just be ignored
  • [...] If that happens, how long before the MPAA and RIAA start asking to take a peek at the data too, as they have in Europe?"
    If you had read the article about what will be done in Europe, you would know they only store connection logs (phone, internet...) and not the data. This makes quite a big difference. Please don't travestite reality.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @04:32AM (#16498531)
      The connection logs are often all you need to paint a strong picture of who's in contact with who.

      Let's say, for instance, that the logs for my telephone show a number of calls to a satellite phone in Afghanistan. Suddenly, I'm a suspect the next time a bomb goes off within about 150 miles of me. What am I saying to this person in Afghanistan? Well, actually, it's my sister who went over there as part of a red cross relief effort, but the local police don't know that and while they're holding me to confirm it, my employer is asking questions.

      Questions like "What sort of a person is this who was arrested last week and hasn't been heard from since? Best replace him."

      After that happens, it's rather hard to get another job. A common interview question is "Why did you leave your last job?" and the honest answer ("I was arrested and held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act owing to poor evidence") tends to put off prospective employers - chances are they stopped listening after the word "arrested" and now just want me off the premises as quickly as possible.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt&lynx,bc,ca> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:34AM (#16498227) Journal

    Phone companies do it, after all...

    It is nevertheless impractical for ISP's to do the same because there are several orders of magnitude more simultaneous connections than there are with phone companies because phone calls typically last on the order of minutes, while individual IP packets take less than a fraction of a second to transmit and they are done. One could track entire TCP streams, but even those can be over in less than a second, and it wouldn't be helpful for tracking things like UDP or even raw IP. It would require absolutely huge amounts of data storage to chronicle even a single hour's usage in entirety on a major ISP, let alone keeping it around for days or weeks.

  • On Liberty: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i)ave (716746) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:40AM (#16498261)
    Excerpt from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty
    "The principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That is the only purpose for which power can be rightfully excersized over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."

    There are 2 questions, really:
    • 1) Does spying on everyone's internet use threaten everyone's Liberty to use it?
    • 2) What happens when there are 2 people, meaning to harm others, but the only way to know how to prevent that harm is to restrict their "liberty of action" along with everyone else's?

    If you're looking for a guess, I don't have it. All I know is that it bothers me when the government's fear of people they can't even identify is enough reason for them to start "monitoring" the 300 million people in our country that they can identify. I don't know how much liberty one has if they are aware that everything they type, or every call they make, is "monitored". Is that liberty? Does that make anyone feel safer?

  • by Ngwenya (147097) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:44AM (#16498293)
    The summary does right in pointing out that retaining this stuff attracts copyright holders like flies round shit, but, thankfully for the moment, they're not allowed access to this data [in fact, it would be a criminal offence if they were granted such access]. Part of the fighting between the EU commission and the EU parliament was that the parliament wanted access locked down to ultra-specific cases (things that could be prosecuted under the European Arrest Warrant only). They didn't get it, but the compromise was that access could only be granted for serious criminal activities, defined by each member state's law.

    Civil torts (ie, copyright infringement) are way outside the ballpark by anybody's measure, so it'll be a long while before they wheedle their way into this. They will try, but Big Content doesn't hold quite the same disproportionate influence in the EU that it does in the USA. So, from a US point of view, I think that you have much more to fear from data retention that EU citizens have, given that AG Gonzales explicitly mentioned copyright infringement in his reasons for pushing this turd of an idea.

    Not saying that the data retention doesn't suck - just that the existing fears of abuse are more than enough the scare the bejesus out of me without imagining what *AA snooping would be like. I've yet to be convinced that it's not the usual government trick of "let's spend lots of money (better still, other people's money) on a problem, and rely on the traditional public belief that the government is tackling something because it wouldn't spend billions to accomplish nothing".

    --Ng
    • It won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tkrotchko (124118) * on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:54AM (#16499483) Homepage
      Sure, you can write a law full of language that says it can only be used against terrorists etc etc etc. You can write a law that is 1000's of pages in length detailing these correct uses. ...and then 10 minutes later, somebody attaches a provision to a farm subsidy bill that says these records can be used by RIAA and MPAA to discover copyright abuse with no warrant because "users have no expectations of privacy on the internet" and POOF all those protections are gone.

      • by Ngwenya (147097)
        Sure, new laws can be written. But if those laws breach basic civil rights as granted by treaty, conventions, constitutions, etc, they can be challenged. In the US, such widespread access would probably be challenged under 4th amendment rights. In the EU, we would invoke Article 8 of the ECHR to say that such access was disproportionately interfering with basic privacy rights. Individual member states might have even stronger protections.

        I know what you're saying - and I agree - that legal protections aren'
  • Dear FBI, (Score:5, Funny)

    by bunhed (208100) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:59AM (#16498381)
    The terrorists are broadcasting communications with steganography embedded in all those viagra and stock option emails. Please filter and retain all spam for further detailed and ongoing analysis.

    thank you,
    everyone
    • by hacker (14635)

      You mean like SpamMimic [spammimic.com]? Steganography in spam is a pretty common trick in these times.

      With the sheer volume of spam flowing across everyone's routers, 1 or 2 messages in a group of 900 per-day, would be easily missed.

  • by tehSpork (1000190) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @04:22AM (#16498481)
    First, the practical:

    I'm sorry, but I am not going to waste my resources storing every email every one of my customers has received from now until kingdom come. Unlike Google, I don't have the spare cash sitting around for that kind of storage space. Make it a law and I bet you see a surge of ISPs basing their servers offshore to protect their investment (customer privacy mainly).

    Secondly, the privacy concern

    So the FBI reading my sarcastic emails to friends and family is going to help us catch a bunch of terrorists who, last I heard, had one webmaster who was stupid enough to get himself arrested in Germany? I've got news for you guys: Teenagers, CEOs, and computer enthusiasts coordinate things through the internet. I imagine terrorists prefer suicide bombing training camps or mountain hideaways for their secret conferences. Besides, we haven't heard anything of Al Qaeda declaring Jihad on Microsoft over Netmeeting or even MSN Messenger, so it is highly doubtful that they have tried to use them. :p

    As far as 'terrorist websites' go, the FBI just needs to get some of their buds at the CIA to break into the server and plant a basic hit reporter. Figure out who is logging in and making changes, and you've got your man.
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @05:48AM (#16498873) Homepage
    I hope one day you post similar feedback to Google over "data kept forever, mail is never really deleted, analysed for advertising purposes"...

    You know.. Gmail..
  • Here is the deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by el_womble (779715) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @06:55AM (#16499129) Homepage
    It is the job of:

    • Doctors to tell politions that everything that is bad for us should be banned and force us to live in a bubble to to stop us from getting sick.
    • Armed Forces to say that we should destroy all other nations and force us to live in bunkers to prevent us from getting killed
    • Police Force to demand that they can monitor all people at all times in order to stop crime
    • Politians to defend our liberty from all of these people, inform you of all of their findings and to impose laws to protect your freedoms not increase security
    • You to make sure your elected officials are doing what you and your fellow country men


    It is the guy from the FBIs job to demand that our freedoms be observered and monitored. It is his job to lobby politians to pass laws to make his job easier and minimize the tax burden of his department. Its the politians job to take him seriously, concider the facts and then tell him bollocks. If he fails to do this it is your job to make it very clear that this is unacceptable, and then not vote for him in the next elections. If he gets in, then thats democracy, and the freedom that you thought was important, was clearly not that important to your fellow countryman.

    Its perfectly possible that, despite living in a liberal democracy at the moment what the people want is to live under the rule of a paternal dictatorship - people are stupid. If thats the case, then democracy will let that happen. All you can do then is either raise a militia or leave. I guess you could always try and educate people, but thats never worked in the past ;)
  • From TFA:

    Echoing DHS head Michael Cherthoff's assertion that the Internet was enabling terrorists to telecommute to work ...

    The simple solution was already revealed [slashdot.org].

  • Stuff like this makes me think that maybe someone high-up is pushing for legislation to force people to buy certain hardware (i.e. hard drives), when they might own stock in a company that sells hard drives and stand to make a huge profit.
  • Spin, not security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by giafly (926567) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:03AM (#16499519)
    "They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination" - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
    You can learn knowledge over the Internet but skills require practice [google.co.uk] in the real world. For example chemistry is not easy [opednews.com]. Alleged plotters who take no practical steps [theregister.co.uk] are losers [wikipedia.org] not terrorists.

    This is about control of disaffected people [reuters.com] not fighting real terrorism.

    And what's with the comment about not needing to "speak with anybody else" - are the FBI scared of shut-ins [wikipedia.org] now?
  • How long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aplusjimages (939458) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:13AM (#16499605) Journal
    Internet service providers have unwittingly deleted the very records that would help us identify these offenders and protect future victims

    So the ISPs are retaining the info, but not long enough for the Feds to do their job right, so they are asking for them to keep them longer. Well how long? Why are the Feds so slow? Will they want to extend the retention length again if the time table they recommended isn't long enough?
  • Ecncryption (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:23AM (#16499677)
    Data retention is a way to catch the stupid offenders, blame innocent people and also abuse the data for other purposes.
    If I was to commit a crim over the Internet, I'd encrypt any data transmission I'd use.

    Then all they have is the ip/domain I talked to. It's not quite a crime to talk to someone.
  • I generally consider myself a republican for various reasons. However on november 7th I will cross that line at least for congress and the house. We need the dems there to restore some order and sanity to the legislative process instead of rubber stamping every single thing that runs through congress.
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      What we need to do is get the Congressional balance to exactly 50/50 and then just flip it in every election cycle. The politicians in Washington live a life of privilige and feel they're entitled to it. We need to remind them that they're just public servants -- OUR employees. We've been lousy managers so far, allowing them to get away with all manner of shennannigans. Well the time has come to clean house and everyone must go! And we need to keep that turnover high, at least until we find a bunch of emplo
  • At least that's the analogy being made here.

    Phone companies keep track of who calls who when in a record called the "pen register". These records are readily available to government investigators; all they need to do is tell a judge they're going to look, and no justification is needed. To actually listen to your conversations, they need to justify a court order for the wiretap.

    The Internet equivalent (more or less) is what web sites you visit when. So the Feds (from this point of view) just want

  • "All too often, we find that before we can catch these offenders, Internet service providers have unwittingly deleted the very records that would help us identify these offenders and protect future victims," Mueller said.

    Now is that a typo ?

    If they can identify the offenders, surely they would prevent future victims ?

    Or maybe it's a Freudian slip, because they know it won't prevent anything, but maybe, just maybe, enable them to exact retribution after the fact. And it's instilling the notion that they are

  • We've seen what happens when we give the government everything it wants... abuse, lies and deceit. I don't hate the government, I just hate the corrupt, power-hungry people running it.

    Now let's try something different, an actual democracy in the US..

    Democracy by definition is a representative government and the majority of the citizens support laws that are in agreement with their beleifs and lifestyles. Since these kind of laws and "guidelines" aren't being passed in accordance with those beliefs, we a

  • There's nothing law enforcement can do, no law that can be passed, that guarantees they'll always be able to listen in on bad guys. Even if they get this thing rammed through, it's not going to do any good, because smart bad guys will know what the law is and what is required to be retained. They'll work around it.

    And bad guys aside, there's also the issue of innocent people. I'm not talking about just the collateral damage of people losing their privacy and saying "what a shame" or "how dare you do thi

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @01:30PM (#16504099) Homepage
    We don't delete log files for no reason. We delete them because they're not worth keeping. Why wash toilet paper?

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