News

Gonzales Calls for ISP Customer Data Retention Law

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Congress should require Internet service providers to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography.

Testifying to a Senate panel, Gonzales acknowledged the concerns of some company executives who say legislation might be overly intrusive and encroach on customers' privacy rights. But he said the growing threat of child pornography over the Internet was too great.

"This is a problem that requires federal legislation," Gonzales told the Senate Banking Committee. "We need information. Information helps us makes cases."

He called the government's lack of access to customer data the biggest obstacle to deterring child porn.

"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," he said.

Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have met with several Internet service providers, including Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, Comcast Corp., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

The law enforcement officials have indicated to the companies they must retain customer records, possibly for two years. The companies have discussed strengthening their retention periods -- which currently run the gamut from a few days to about a year -- to help avoid legislation.

At Tuesday's hearing, Gonzales said he agreed with the sentiment of 49 state attorneys general who in a June letter to Congress expressed support for a federal law that would require longer retention of customer records.

"We respect civil liberties but we have to harmonize this so we can get more information," he said.

The subject has prompted some alarm among Internet service provider executives and civil liberties groups after the Justice Department took Google to court earlier this year to force it to turn over information on customer searches. Civil liberties groups also have sued Verizon and other telephone companies, alleging they are working with the government to provide information without search warrants on subscriber calling records.

Justice Department officials have said that any proposal would not call for the content of communications to be preserved and would keep the information in the companies' hands. The data could be obtained by the government through a subpoena or other lawful process.

Featured

  • Windows 10 Mobile To Fall Out of Support in December

    Microsoft will end support for the Windows 10 Mobile operating system on Dec. 10, 2019, according to an announcement.

  • Get More Out of Your Outlook Inbox with TakeNote

    Brien comes across a handy, but imperfect, feature in Outlook that lets you annotate specific e-mails. Its provenance is something of a mystery, though.

  • Microsoft Resumes Rerelease of Windows 10 Version 1809

    Microsoft on Wednesday once more resumed its general rollout of the Windows 10 version 1809 upgrade, also known as the "October 2018 Update."

  • Microsoft Ups Its Windows 10 App Compatibility Assurances

    Microsoft gave assurances this week that organizations adopting Windows 10 likely won't face application compatibility issues.

comments powered by Disqus
Most   Popular

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.