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ISP Tracking Legislation Hits the House

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the someone-is-always-watching-in-your-hotel dept.

Privacy 332

cnet-declan writes "CNET News.com reports that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced yesterday legislation to force ISPs to keep track of what their users are doing. It's part of the Republicans 'law and order agenda,' with other components devoted to the death penalty, gangs, and terrorists. Attorney General Gonzales would be permitted to force Internet providers to keep logs of Web browsing, instant message exchanges, and e-mail conversations indefinitely. The draft bill is available online, and it also includes mandatory Web labeling for sexually explicit pages. The idea enjoys bipartisan support: a Colorado Democrat has been the most ardent supporter in the entire Congress."

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Good luck (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925902)

They may as well legislate that gravity be lessened to solve the obesity problem. It's just as feasible from a technical sense.

Re:Good luck (4, Insightful)

doublem (118724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925980)


Don't give them ideas.

the problem is, they don't realize the massive hardware costs that would be involved.

What's more if they did understand the expense and barriers of such a plan, they wouldn't care.

Re:Good luck (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926108)

Screw the hardware costs. It's just plain impossible. How can the ISP know which data is e-mail, IMs, etc?

I don't know about you, but I connect to a mail server using SSL, and the server is not operated by my ISP. Are they going to log some unintelligible bits? Are they going to force people to use their ISP's mail server? Who is an ISP? Anybody who resells bandwidth? How will they know you're reselling bandwidth? Etc...

Re:Good luck (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926142)

... the massive hardware costs ...

Bits and bytes don't weigh anything, so it's all free. Besides, I'm sure the hard drive companies will offer steep discounts for bulk purchases.

Re:Good luck (5, Informative)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926374)

The sky is not falling.

Here's what the bill says:

(a) REGULATIONS.Not later than 90 days after the
date of the enactment of this section, the Attorney General
shall issue regulations governing the retention of records
by Internet Service Providers. Such regulations shall, at
a minimum, require retention of records, such as the name
and address of the subscriber or registered user to whom
an Internet Protocol address, user identification or telephone
number was assigned, in order to permit compliance
with court orders that may require production of such information.

First note that the information they are primarily interested in is being able to tie a user to an IP address. It is trivial for an ISP to keep this information, and any responsible ISP already does so that they can investigate fraud and abuse complaints.

Second, the regulations are to deal with record retention, not tracking. So, if an ISP currently tracks user activity, the AG could require the ISP to keep that information for x days. But this bill does not seem to give anyone the power to order ISPs to start tracking users in ways they aren't already.

Re:Good luck (5, Funny)

Poruchik (1004331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926098)

This legislator has been sponsored by Toshiba, Seagate, Western Digital, and Network Appliances.

Re:Good luck (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926116)

But it should be highly compressible, and a terabyte costs $300 retail these days. I'm scared that it would be feasible to store logs of URLs visited (at most a few hundred per customer per hour?).

Re:Good luck (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926252)

Yeah, that would do a great job of logging all the boring traffic of law-abiding people. How are going to log the traffic of the law-breakers who use an SSL enabled proxy? Just because it's the law doesn't mean it is possible.

Re:Good luck (2, Informative)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926450)

Sure, if you're using off the shelf SATA drives in a USB enclosure attached to a server, but enterprise class? A decent attached storage array will start at $1700.00 per terabyte, (based on a 4.5 TB Polyell 3U SATA unit), then add in the cost of racks, rackspace, bandwidth, power, cooling, new networking equipment, admins to manage it, tape units for offsite backups, etc...the costs are much higher than $300.00 per TB.

Re:Good luck (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926134)

Actually, wouldn't increasing gravity be a better solution? And to do that, all we really need to do is crash the moon into Asia. That should increase gravity by, like a lot.

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926196)

As if that's ever stopped them before...

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926350)

You're barking up the wrong tree. The objective is power, revenue, and precedent for future expansions of power and revenue. In other words, the objective is bigger government, not conformity per say; conformity only serves to make expansions of power easier to achieve.

There's a reason why the US government of today dwarfs the US government of only 50, let alone 100 years ago, both in revenue and power over the people. The reason is simple, although some have trouble coming to accept it: power benefits the power elite who control government. Just as it has since the dawn of organized coercion (government).

Re:Good luck (3, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926470)

That would be an interesting theory if the growth of power was actually fueled by those in power. In reality, it is fueled by the citizens demanding more from their government under the delusion that it will help them. People don't understand that when the government gives you something, it has to take it from you first. Even with progressive taxation, it comes out of everybody's pockets. Giving money to the rich may not cause it to "trickle-down" to the lower classes, but if you stick it to the rich, they'll figure out (Actually there isn't any figuring out involved, but...) how to pass the costs down the chain.

If an idea starts with "The government should..." and doesn't end with something about providing infrastructure or protecting you from physical harm, it's a bad idea... And even some things that fit the formula are bad ideas too.

Re:Good luck (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926478)

They may as well legislate that gravity be lessened to solve the obesity problem. It's just as feasible from a technical sense.

Google logs every search made by its logged-in users. I expect it's quite feasible to set up a database to record every url requested by every person for quite some time. Unfortunately.

Guess it's time to stop using the internet (5, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925934)

You know, I'd like find out what kind of porn or other illicit sites these legislators are surfing and then dredge that up those records to news agencies. See how that flies in their faces.

Re:Guess it's time to stop using the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925986)

Considering that their internet service is probably provided by the government, I think there's almost no chance of that happening. They've probably added some little snippet to the bill that makes them exempt anyway.

Re:Guess it's time to stop using the internet (2, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926054)

When they refuse to examine election fraud on the grounds of "it would damage voter confidence" I think it would be safe to assume they will find a way to keep themselves out of this. In fact, it would probably even extend protection to them after they are out of office. My first guess would be seeing this tossed out on grounds of national security given that this administration has classified more crap than any other administration.

Re:Guess it's time to stop using the internet (1)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926482)

How long do you think it'll take before and ISP gets broken into, records get stolen, and very public names get exposed doing things on the internet that they may not be proud of?

Hmm (0)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925936)

Secondary storage must be a lot cheaper than I thought

Oh, Congress won't pay for it. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926016)

This will be another "unfunded mandate" where they'll just fine you if you fail to spend the money to comply.

All in the name of "protecting the children" and "War against Terror".

The question will be, how much money will an ISP have to spend to record everything, in a secure fashion, for years and years? And at what point will the that expense be LESS than any fine that will be levied for non-compliance?

Re:Oh, Congress won't pay for it. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926464)

The thing I don't understand is what kind of idiots work in election publicity in the USA these days? How hard can it be to win an election with adverts saying 'Candidate X voted for a bill that will add $5/month to your Internet bill,' 'Candidate Y voted for a bill that will add 10% to your phone bill,' or 'Candidate Z voted for a bill to restrict what you can watch on TV?'

Won't somebody please think of the children! (5, Insightful)

aborchers (471342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925938)

This is just sick. Every time I hear this shrill siren about protecting the children I know they're coming for another liberty.

I, for one, don't want my kids growing up in a country run by the thought police.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the children! (5, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926018)

Didn't you know that "Child Porn" is the root password to the US Constitution?

With "Terrorism" and "Think of the Children" as the alternates?

Overcoming the funding gap (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925940)

Now that lobbying is going to be regulated, the parties have to make money somehow. Buy shares in HDD manufacturers and network hardware providers and then regulate to send their sales through the roof - profit!

With My New Federal Budget: +4, Outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926088)

ALL of U.S. Federal Budget will be devoted to War Profiteers-R-US [whitehouse.org] .

Anyone caught posting critical comments of my fiefdom will be detained for extraordinary

Thanks for your frequent votes at Diebold machines.

George W. Bush [jihadunspun.com] .

Now only the outlaws will have freedom. (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925952)

This shall be pretty onerous for ISPs though. Keeping track of whatever users access. Might drive up the cost of providing these services.

Option Labeling of Non-Sexual Content (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925956)

The draft bill is available online, and it also includes mandatory Web labeling for sexually explicit pages.

What they need is exactly the opposite: optional Web labeling for non-sexually explicit content.

If you think your site is safe for children then you can add a label to that effect. There could even be a well defined process where, if you labeled your site as safe-for-children and it wasn't, then you could be required to take down the safe-for-children label.

Ideally, there wouldn't just be one safe-for-children label but a variety of specific government defined labels that identified a site as being free of specific types of content (e.g. no nude photos versus no sex photos).

Re:Option Labeling of Non-Sexual Content (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926072)

So you want a whitelist internet. No, not good. Internet is a public area. We should blacklist 'bad' sites, and the rest of the sites should be assumed to be not bad.

Re:Option Labeling of Non-Sexual Content (1)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926172)

Sounds great!
I get to decide what is bad and what is good
You can send you tributes to the folllowing address.........

Re:Option Labeling of Non-Sexual Content (2, Informative)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926136)

This is so sensible. No wonder Congress didn't think of it. It is worth making a phone call about, anyway. But there are already non-government labels akin to MPAA movie ratings, like http://www.icra.org/ [icra.org] or http://www.safesurf.com/ [safesurf.com] . I guess the problem is too many choices.

Re:Option Labeling of Non-Sexual Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926294)

I guess the problem is too many choices.

Naively, one might be afraid that the labels might be misused in the absence a government law prohibiting misuse. In practice, a small blacklist of sites that were known to be misusing the label would be sufficient.

Pointless (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925962)

Even assuming that this is done on a tape backup or something as stupid as that, this is pointless and useless because it would be almost impossible to search through all of this info without having it easily importable into a database where you could search through records or have a universal format tha all these log files could be output into, for easy import and read, etc.
Also considering that these records are kept 'indefinitely' the storage and money spent on this should be subsidized in some sense and al that subsidized money will be for nothing because this will only end up in maybe a handful of minor arrests for hacking and NOT in 'world trade center' avoiding events.

Re:Pointless (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926114)

It's easy.
Just email your logs to the Attorney General each evening.
Solves both the problem of where to store them and how to get them to him when he wants to see them.

huh? (2, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925968)

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced yesterday legislation to force ISPs to keep track of what their users are doing. It's part of the Republicans 'law and order agenda,' with other components devoted to the death penalty, gangs, and terrorists.

Why don't they just put everyone in prison? Then we wouldn't have any crime at all. Problem solved.

Re:huh? (1)

metagnat (104512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926080)

Why don't they just put everyone in prison? Then we wouldn't have any crime at all. Problem solved.
Because, of course, there is no crime in prison...

Re:huh? (2, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926146)

Because, of course, there is no crime in prison...

Depends which prison. Supermax [spunk.org] doesn't have a crime problem, I can tell you that. 23-hour a day lockdown.

Re:huh? (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926256)

> Why don't they just put everyone in prison? Then we wouldn't have any crime at all. Problem solved.

The Party's goal isn't to eliminate crime by throwing everyone in jail -- it's to eliminate people who piss it off by merely being able to throw anyone in jail.

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens' What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt."

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957

You don't have to like Rand to apppreciate that she was onto something when it came to how governments think during the design phase of legislation.

Putting everyone in prison (4, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926270)

President Eisenhower speaking:

"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government."

Re:huh? <-- make that "duh". (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926288)

Why don't they just put everyone in prison?
Duh, that's the idea. Haven't you been paying attention for the last 90 years?

Re:huh? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926348)

Instead of throwing everyone in prison they're already working on building the prison around everyone. If they boil them slowly they won't jump out the pot.

Time to Invest (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925970)

If I had a broker, I'd be calling him and buying up stock in EMC, Quantum ATL and every other company involved in storage and retention of large quantities of data.

Re:Time to Invest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926428)

EMC jumped 8.25% in after hours trading as of 1:53 PST. /me rolls eyes.

This would change the way people use the web. (2, Insightful)

topical_surfactant (906185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925984)

I imagine many people would simply start tunneling all their traffic to countries without such idiocy.

You're thinking too hard (2, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926264)

Hell, just default to ssh tunneling all traffic between all hosts. they won't be able to prove you downloaded anything, just that you pulled 500mb from port 22 of bigbazoongas.com. For all they can prove, you were aggressively reloading robots.txt.

Sexuality explicit issue (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925992)

I thought this wasn't a problem. I thought most websites do post warnings. Is Congress just trying to solve a non-existent to show they are doing something supposedly worthwhile?

Re:Sexuality explicit issue (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926046)

Is Congress just trying to solve a non-existent to show they are doing something supposedly worthwhile?

It really must be non-existent-- the word doesn't even show up in your post.

My logs aren't going to be very interesting (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925996)

So they're going to have pages and pages and pages of my logs showing I connect through a proxy located somewhere other than the US.

Excellent work, feds.

What do they think they're trying to pull? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926000)

General Gonzales would be permitted to force Internet providers to keep logs of Web browsing, instant message exchanges, and e-mail conversations indefinitely
This certainly isn't going to be plausible considering the amount of people that the ISPs have to deal with. I don't think conservatives will go for this bill because it hurts business, and I'll be surprised if there are fors from liberals because it intrudes on privacy(sorry if these are stereotypes).

Actually (2, Informative)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926332)

Conservatives like the concept of absolute monitoring of citizens. It's the whole war on terror thing that is their brainchild to begin with. Conservatives brought us the USAPATRIOT Act, etc.

You have to admit... (3, Funny)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926006)

Mandatory labeling of sexually explicit images will make them much easier to find.

Re:You have to admit... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926084)

That is pretty much the reason the .xxx domain failed initiative failed. Even though it was going to be voluntary there were people who were worried that it would create a "red light district on the web". I'm still not sure why that is such a bad thing, but I suspect that similar pressures will derail this bill.

Re:You have to admit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926266)

Mandatory labeling of sexually explicit images will make them much easier to find.
I thought they already were: *.jpg

However, like with all of them, there are some people that break the standard by applying the name extension to non-explicit images - so you'll find a few exceptions.

I can't control it....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926010)

Must ..... refuse.... the .... urge .... to ..... become..... electronic ...... terrorist......

/soon to be ghost on the net

Permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926014)

Attorney General Gonzales would be permitted to ...
Since when does the AG need permission anymore? When existing laws are being broken without oversight or consequence, what would he care about permission?

Of course, if I , a regular citizen, were to stalk someone in the same way - that's completely different. </sarcasm>

I love the spin (2)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926026)

Folding this bill into a larger "law and order" agenda makes it more difficult for people to criticize it; "what, you against law and order, you filthy terrorist?"

If similar bills had no chance in a Republican-controlled Congress, does it really have a chance now? Doubtful, especially since the Democrats have a comfortable majority in the House.

Besides, I'm not a fan of impractical laws that are extraordinarily difficult to enforce. If this bill became law, do you think certain users would create scripts that visit hundreds of thousands of sites, just to clog the log books?

Re:I love the spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926180)

Why yes, I am against law and order.

And you bet your ass I would be installing "scripts" like that... on every machine I get my hands on...

Re:I love the spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926232)

I remember there was an "open source" search engine that came out a few years ago, while I was still in college. Users were encouraged to download a client to "donate" bandwidth and cpu time for spidering of websites.

If this bill passes, I'll be sure to look it up so I can have hundreds of thousands of HTTP requests a day, all day, of my computer indexing websites.

Re:I love the spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926488)

I would SO install such a script on my machine. Of course, I'd then send all my *normal* traffic through TOR. Also, I'd move all my email accounts to off-shore services, and set them up such that they send all contents to me in an encrypted archive file via https. Also, encrypt the contents of my entire HD under an open-source method, using the most paranoid method possible.

Other activities to foul the monitoring:
1) Set up my machine to be a TOR exit node when I'm not using it.
2) Write a virus to install the aforementioned script on people's PCs (through one of those nifty new Vista holes) and perform an http request every X seconds to a random site on a list of several hundred thousand.

I realize number 2 would incur bandwidth charges against the innocent owners of the sites in question, but hopefully the list could be made large enough so that the cost would be negligible once spread over them all.

Sure, they can have my messages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926030)

But they will all start with "-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----".

Dummy text to avoid lameness filter. Dummy text to avoid lameness filter.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926042)

COntact your representitives and tell them why this is a bad bill.
As also, be professional and use there perferred method of contact.
If in doubt send a letter.If it is real important send a certified letter.

Re:The price of freedom is eternal vigilance (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926230)

>If in doubt send a letter.

Aren't those still being held up to be checked for anthrax? If it's time sensitive, try something else.

Re:The price of freedom is eternal vigilance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926480)

The problem with that is my rep is Diana DeGette, who does not listen to what the people have to say. After meeting her in person you can tell that she is another idiot in government that is afraid of technology. Posted Anonymously to keep my job, in the capitol

Useful only for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926064)

necessary to help track criminals if police don't respond immediately to reports of illegal activity and the relevant logs are deleted by Internet providers.
Try to get a search warrant for a suspected burglar's house two months after the burglary. Judges who uphold the law will say that there's no probable cause to believe the evidence is still there. Police who know their job won't even ask.

Police also know how to send out requests to preserve information if they've already started an investigation.

The only use for a law like this is to enable fishing expeditions and mass surveillance. It contributes nothing to routine and legitimate law enforcement.

Re:Useful only for abuse (3, Informative)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926416)

You might want to look at Sarbanes Oxley laws and look at the similarity. You have to keep emails, access logs, etc for years and years for businesses, this is a smaller extension of that. Same with phone records, business transactions, etc.

I'm not quite sure you understand reality some ISP's delete customer login information hours after they are used, (which in reality may or may not be the truth as which information really gets destroyed diverges from the official company policy). It litterally takes days to weeks to months to track down a user to an originating IP who went through multiple servers in different countries, talking with different admins and end users who have a compromised box, working your way back to the source. The police don't have a movie style magic box, they can plugin that will tell them, hacker trying to break into bank , bounced through 10 different systems, 3 different countries but is actually sitting in Columbus, Ohio (of course as a proper nod to the movies, the hacker always knows they are onto him and disconnects right as the last line is being drawn to his house).

What I think it comes down to is there is such a wide varience to the rules, 8+ years ago when admined at an ISP we had conversations with FBI about retention policies: email, backup, authentication logs, etc. There statement to us was that we could do anything we wanted as long as the whole organization followed the same rules; if they would call up the secretary and she said that we never deleted backup tapes, and they call up the admin and he says they are deleted every days. That they would be flying in and getting all the equipment under court-order evidence protection (effectively putting us into a bind operationally having no equipment anymore).

From the draft... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926092)

"the term "Internet" means the cobination of computer facilities and electromagnetic transmission media [...] the employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or any successor protocol to transmit information..."

someone please correct me if I'm wrong (I'm no expert), but according to this, as long as we somehow just use UDP we're fine? :P

Re:From the draft... (1, Insightful)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926206)

Does fiber count as electromagnetic transmission? Junk legislation like this shows why they shouldn't write new laws for the Internet.

Re:From the draft... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926268)

Does fiber count as electromagnetic transmission?

Light is an electromagnetic wave/particle/whatever.

It's still junk legislation.

Re:From the draft... (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926296)

I think you've just found the loophole that the big ISPs will be using to avoid this, while the little guys go out of business.

Re:From the draft... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926366)

time for me to start working on my gravity/strong/weak force spectrum information protocol!

Re:From the draft... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926422)

How does a post from someone thinking that light isn't an electromagnetic transmission get modded as insightful?

Nice work (4, Insightful)

Amoeba (55277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926096)

I can only imagine how politicians think:

"Hey how can we kill off a lot of small businesses so our big behemoth telecomm contributors can make more money in the long run? Ooh! increased operating costs! Our friends have the coffers to handle this while their smaller competitors die off. We'll have to make it look like something else though. Tie it to crime. Everyone hates criminals."

No (2, Insightful)

rodentia (102779) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926360)

Here is how politicians think:

"What sort of grandstanding can I do to get my name in today's local/state media cycle? Let's see, my likely opponent has introduced a bill in the statehouse mandating that sex offenders register their online accounts. . . . Hrm, what trumps pedophiles? Sure, Terror, domestic Terror! that's the ticket!"

Actually, that is the politician's Chief of Staff thinking; the politician is thinking:

"Does this tie make me look soft on crime? If that minxy little intern thinks she's going to get that last donut, she's got another thing coming. Hrm, I wonder who's scheduled to buy me lunch today. It better not be seafood, them shellfish gives me the burpies."

Send Gonzales and his "justice" back to Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926118)

Attorney General Gonzales would be permitted to force Internet providers...

What's with this Gonzales guy? It's like he's trying to bring Mexican style "justice" to the USA. I saw an interview the other day and he came across like some backwater South American dictator. He sounded like he wanted people to think he was making sense but if you actually thought about what he was saying he didn't make any sense at all.

Whatever happened to people coming the USA because of the Bill of Rights rather than in spite of it?

What's the next step? (1)

FormulaTroll (983794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926160)

This is Big Brother Online. Why not just mandate every US citizen wear a video camera, gps tracking device, and voice recorder at all times? All data streamed wirelessly to the nearest DHS office.

Re:What's the next step? (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926436)

That's exactly what Bill Gates wants to do and will probably start pushing Zune -- I mean soon. He thinks it's just a super wonderful idea that we should all were cameras 24-7 and document and archive every moment of our lives with our computers. Seriously. That could never be abused, could it?

In this day of voyeurism on demand, reality tv, and video blogs, the world looks more and more like it's heading for 1984 -- by choice.

constitution (4, Insightful)

mobydobius (237311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926164)

we havent had a decent amendment in a while. time for a push for an explicit right to privacy?

Confusing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926210)

Doesn't this just amount to wiretapping using different wires, only instead of just doing it for individuals suspected of something illegal, it's being done en masse to the masses. Certain members of Congress have been very vocal about how they're against the President listening to the conversations of suspected terrorists or foreign nationals because it might violate their rights...but it's okay to monitor everyone else?

We here at the Future Crimes Department take pride in knowing you're going to do something wrong before you do it so we're going to start building our case againt you now. Thank you and have a nice day.

uh ya sure (1)

Akatosh (80189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926250)

Just buy me a few hundred 10gig fiber taps and a san the size of the building and we'll be good to go. Seriously, who comes up with this crap. Do they have ANY idea how much traffic even a mid sized provider puts out? I need a room full of servers just to handle the last _week_ worth of email and my poor laptop explodes if I even think about trying to selectivly sniff at gigabit speed. I wonder if I con management into offering an end to end crypto service.......

Three Letters (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926322)

SSL. Seriously, why the f*ck aren't people using SSL for everything? It isn't that complicated. Even if they're just self-signed certs, it's still vastly more secure then sending almost everything plaintext.

This is just stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926330)

Once again, we have legislation being proposed which is only going to affect legitimate internet users, and will barely help at all to prevent criminal acts. Even if they do pass this law, and even if the ISPs could (from a technical standpoint) log everything their users do, it's not like anyone planning a crime is going to be stupid enough to fall into the trap. They'll use proxies. They'll use encrypted connections that even the ISP simply can't peer into. And this will all have been for nothing.

I wish lawmakers were obliged to take a few courses in various information technology topics before being permitted to try to regulate them. Nobody in the House seems to understand how the internet works, and this is going to cause real damage if they're allowed to go ahead and pretend they do.

First Reaction and Real reaction. (5, Interesting)

Irvu (248207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926340)

My first reaction was "Good because wading through terrabytes of useless data will really help win the war on terrer!" However on sober reflection I realize that the very technical infeasability of this is part and parcel of the problem.

For those of you that haven't seen Terry Gilliam's Brazil [imdb.com] you must it is an essential requirement for anyone who would just react with the snarkiness I mentioned above.

They can't parse all of that data. A single major ISP on a single day would generate terrabytes of data if everything was logged. In that event any actual law enforcement methods would be swamped by the sheer beureucratic waste of it all. Massive computer systems performing continuous number crunching would still come up with garbage.

But that doesn't matter!

It isn't necessary for this to work. What is necessary is for them to make people perceive that it works at least enough to get it put in place. At that point the system becomes self feeding. Don't like it, well that can get you put on the short list for a check of your habits. Because they can look at a single person's habits, they may be wrong but they can and will do it. But in general the system will be a large self-feeding monstrosoty and any "errors", because there are always errors will be dealt with in the same way that the no-fly-list errors are handled: "not my department, next please!"

Eventually success of this process ceases to be the object only its continuation. Once a large enough beureucracy is established staffed with enough place-men and place-seekers to protect themselves then this will take over. Consider the Drug war as an example. Yes it hasn't hit full steam but think of ho many things today are justified by means of the "Drug War". And take a look at the way justifications for the war are handled. Money for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (led by America's Drug Czar) is spent convincing us to back the drug war or not to vote for legalization. In turn the DEA's budget (paying America's Drug Czar) goes up and who the hell cares if the drugs are stopped. And they aren't even fighting "Terrorists".

In many respects it reminds me of East Germany. At the height of their power the East German Stasi employed one in fifty members of the population as full or part-time spies. This doesn't count the large beureucratic staff that they had or the massive infrastructure that was built and run just to sort through it all. The social costs were enormous as any infraction was targeted for no good reason. The economic costs in turn were insane and deprived the state budget of much of the money that might have been spent say building an infrastructure or feeding the population. No nation on earth had more complete information on its citizens and no nation on earth spent more obtaining it.

Ultimately crime was still committed and even the dissident groups grew because they a) hated the government that much, b) were often flooded with spies sent in by the Stasi, and c) could get away with it. None of the objectives of the Stasi were acheived and East Germany fell, it fell and noone misses it.

This "Law and Order" bull must be stopped, and it must be stopped now! We cannot sit back and think that this is okay or that it will "work its way out. Those of us with a technical mindset are in the best position to explain why this will not work and what a costly destructive system this will be, and we cannot put it off.

For those in the U.S. go Here [house.gov] to find your house rep and place a phone call or send a letter. Then for good measure go Here [senate.gov] and tell the Senate not to go there either. Following that try sending a letter to you local paper's letters to the editor. While many of us no longer read the dead-tree press it can and will make a big impact for those that do (read: most people over 35).

Bad Bad Bad (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926346)

Everybody knows that politicians know very little about the Internet (tubes anyone?). There's a misconception that an IP address is as reliable as a fingerprint. The reality is, most criminals can bounce their connection around and evade lame measures like this.

IP addresses aren't unique nor do they necessarily identify a user at a particular moment in time. If coming behind an AOL proxy, the only way to discover the actual user, is for AOL to log all outbound TCP & UDP connections. It can't be done... yet.

I know our government exceeds at spreading bureaucracy and inefficiency, but I didn't think they'd start destroying the Internet so soon. Reactionary laws, "moral" laws, regulations, privacy invasion, ... The rest of the world is going to leave us behind. Doing anything innovative on the Internet will be hindered by procedures, forms, and compliance measures.

Tor (1)

Chayak (925733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926424)

Well it looks like the Tor network would get a rather large infusion of users if the bill passes. I already encrypt my email and chat and this is even more of a reason to do so.

This bill changes nothing (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926430)

Remember that whether or not Big Government ends up forcing your ISP to spy on you, the ISP has the capability anyway. There's no new threat here, merely a new statement of malicious intent and contempt for citizens (which has been pretty implicit for quite some time anyway).

Also remember that Big Government isn't the only entity that may feel it has something to gain from spying on you. No matter what sort of legislation exists for limiting or opening government intrusion into our lives, regardless of all 4th Amendment issues, government is just one your potential adversaries. You have to think about the general case.

This bill changes nothing. It is your responsibility to encrypt end-to-end and take any other measures you can think of, to protect your privacy. It always has been, and always will be. Government will never really have a say in that (although they might try to outlaw responsible behavior).

FBI just wants the money.... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926444)

Last time this came up, it was estimated to cost over $400M/year. The estimated number of arrests it would help generate? 700. The FBI said just give them the $400M for agents & they could do a hell of a lot better. The truth is that the 60-90 day cycle that most of these companies already have is enough to cover the vast majority of the requests by the police - this is asking the industry to absorb $400M in costs for an infitesimal gain.
Funny the AG didn't want to do that... guess it didn't sound as good politically.

No, the cat does not "got my tongue." (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926456)

Well, thank goodness they'd need a warrant at least to look at these new records.

Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Well, at least there aren't top-secret huge pipes going from the larger providers directly into NSA and CIA supercomputer centers.

Oh, wait. Nevermind.

You ever wonder if the larger service providers are exchanging the government allowing the "two-tiered Internet" thing in exchange for the pipes? No, the government is looking out for our best interests, not looking to extort spy ports out of businesses.

reference to IM and chat records misleading (2, Informative)

segfault_0 (181690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926476)

The post refers to IM and chat logging but they are mentioned no-where in the bill draft. The bill asks that IPs be logged to subscriber names and nothing else. The words instant messaging and chat dont even appear in the text of the the bill at all. The post then links to a previous post about what some people in government would like to monitor - including the IM and chat logs. You cant just draw a line between the two without support facts.

Why are proposals like this even acceptable? (1)

QCompson (675963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926520)

Why is widespread surveillance acceptable to politicians and a good portion of the public when dealing with the internet?

Can you imagine the uproar if smirking ass-face Gonzales (sorry, his first name escapes me right now) proposed that every letter sent through the U.S. postal system must be photocopied, indexed, and stored? Or if all telephone conversations must be recorded in case the Justice Department needs access to them at a later date? People would be livid, and justifiably so.

Yet the internet has achieved a boogey-man status thanks to continual chicken-little scare-tactic reports and media coverage that child predators and terrorists are lurking at every website. The evil boogeymen will come over your tubes, attack your children, blow up your homes!

It's utter crap. Widespread storage and surveillance of communication should be no more acceptable just because there is a different technology involved. You'd think the congress might have more pressing matters to deal with, but I guess not much else is happening right now.
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