updated 11:25 pm EST, Sun February 22, 2009
Home Wi-Fi users affected?
Two Texas-based US representatives have introduced bills that would require ISPs to store user information for two years. The bills may even require home wi-fi router users to track the same information, according to Macworld. The bills were introduced Thursday, one in the US Senate, by Rep. Senator John Cornyn, and in the House by Representative Lamar Smith. Each bill is called the Internet Safety Act, aimed at preventing child pornography via the Internet. The bills call for stronger penalties for accessing child pornography on the Internet and would require Internet and e-mail service providers to retain all records and related information about anyone using a network address temporarily assigned by the service.
Retention would apply to any provider of "an electronic communication service or remote computing service," as well as someone who receives the content and recipient list of e-mail messages that it "transmits, receives, or stores," according to the text of the Senate bill. Cornyn and Smith said the law would require ISPs to hold on to subscriber records similar to those retained by telecommunications carriers. ISPs today are required to preserve any information related to specific communications on their networks that are involved in a criminal investigation for 90, which can be renewed for as much as six months to obtain a court order to seize the information as evidence.
The Internet Safety Act would order service providers to store personal information about their customers simply on the chance they are later accused of a crime. Depending on the interpretation of the new bills, private citizens and enterprises with wireless networks, even those with password-protection, would need hard drives to store data on every user who utilizes on the network.
The bills are currently limited to Republican support at a time when Democrats control the House and Senate, so expectations are for failure of the bill.