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Proposed Law Might Make Wi-Fi ­Users Help Cops

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Congressional Republicans have introduced the Internet Security Act, legislation in the U.S. House and Senate that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) and possibly Wi-Fi router owners to store and retain information on their users for at least two years to aid police investigations. The law would require Internet and email service providers to retain "all records or other information" about anyone using a network address temporarily assigned by the service. The retention requirements would apply to any provider of "an electronic communication service or remote computing service," and anyone who receives the content and recipient list of email messages that it "transmits, receives, or stores." The law would require ISPs to retain subscriber records similar to the records retained by telecommunications carriers, though civil liberties advocates point out that phone records are not kept for use in investigations.

Carriers and ISPs are already required to retain information related to specific communications on their networks that are involved in a criminal investigation, notes Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kevin Bankston. Center for Democracy and Technology president Leslie Harris says the Internet Safety Act would amount to ISPs storing personal information on their customers just in case they are later accused of a crime. Bankston says the law could impose a heavy burden on private citizens and enterprises that operate wireless networks, and that it could mean Wi-Fi routers would need hard drives to store data on every user on the network.

From IDG News Service
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