House Panel Approves Bill Requiring ISPs to Keep User Data on File

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House Panel Approves Child-Porn Bill, Despite Data-Privacy Concerns

By Josh Smith
Updated: July 28, 2011 | 6:10 p.m.
July 28, 2011 | 5:29 p.m.

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill on Thursday requiring Internet service providers to keep user information on file to help track pedophiles and child pornographers, despite opposition from some members who feared the measure opened the door to government surveillance of all Americans.

The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 was hotly contested during its two-day markup, but the legislation passed 19-10 in the end. Among other things, the bill requires Internet companies to collect and retain the Internet protocol addresses of all users for at least a year in order to allow law enforcement officials time to collect evidence.

“Every piece of prematurely discarded information could be the footprint of a child predator,” said Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who cosponsored the bill with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. “This bill ensures that the online footprints of predators are not erased.”

Smith overcame more than a dozen amendments and hours of criticism from members of both parties. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., led the opposition to the bill, filing several doomed amendments that would have stripped or limited the data-retention provisions.

When none of her major amendments passed, Lofgren offered a final poke in the eye. Lofgren proposed renaming the bill the “Keep Every American’s Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011.” That also failed.

“I think we ought to say what we’re doing rather than pretend that this is about child pornography,” she said.

Opponents argued that despite Smith’s assurances that the collected information would be limited to IP addresses, the measure could potentially force Internet providers to gather names, addresses, credit-card numbers, and other private data.

“What we’re doing here is creating a database of all Americans. It goes way beyond child pornography,” said ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich. “It’s a big step in the wrong direction and shifts us away from American values.”

The bill would allow the government to access personal data for millions of Americans, regardless of whether they are suspected of using or creating child pornography, Conyers said, and he called this expansion of power a major government intrusion into Americans’ privacy.

Lofgren scoffed at Smith’s assertion that courts are not part of the government and therefore not allowed to access the stored data under the bill.

“A court is not a government entity? Nice try, Mr. Chairman,” Lofgren said. She argued that through court orders, the databases could be opened to all kinds of people involved in civil litigation.

But Smith said that the bill simply brings Internet information under the same standards already in place for telephone records.

“When investigators develop leads that might result in saving a child or apprehending a pedophile, their efforts should not be frustrated because vital records were destroyed simply because there was no requirement to retain them,” he said. “This bill requires ISPs to retain subscriber records, similar to records retained by telephone companies, to aid law enforcement officials in their fight against child sexual exploitation.”

The bill also gives the U.S. Marshals Service the authority to use administrative subpoenas to track down unregistered sex offenders.

A court does not need to approve administrative subpoenas, and this provision garnered heated opposition from members who said that it gives the marshals too much power. An amendment by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that would have stripped that provision from the bill, failed.

Speaking after Wednesday’s debate, Smith said that the bill will likely come to the floor sometime after the August recess, but it is unclear whether it will be considered before the end of September.
When none of her major amendments passed, Lofgren offered a final poke in the eye. Lofgren proposed renaming the bill the “Keep Every American’s Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011.” That also failed.

“I think we ought to say what we’re doing rather than pretend that this is about child pornography,” she said.
I like the cut of her jib....:)
I noticed that they didn't mention what age is a child.

I guess the public officials "children" are very promiscuous and need to

be protected
House panel approves broadened ISP snooping bill

July 28, 2011 1:41 PM PDT
by Declan McCullagh

Internet providers would be forced to keep logs of their customers' activities for one year--in case police want to review them in the future--under legislation that a U.S. House of Representatives committee approved today.

The 19 to 10 vote represents a victory for conservative Republicans, who made data retention their first major technology initiative after last fall's elections, and the Justice Department officials who have quietly lobbied for the sweeping new requirements, a development first reported by CNET.

A last-minute rewrite of the bill expands the information that commercial Internet providers are required to store to include customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses, some committee members suggested. By a 7-16 vote, the panel rejected an amendment that would have clarified that only IP addresses must be stored.

It represents "a data bank of every digital act by every American" that would "let us find out where every single American visited Web sites," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill.

Lofgren said the data retention requirements are easily avoided because they only apply to "commercial" providers. Criminals would simply go to libraries or Starbucks coffeehouses and use the Web anonymously, she said, while law-abiding Americans would have their activities recorded.

To make it politically difficult to oppose, proponents of the data retention requirements dubbed the bill the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, even though the mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.

"The bill is mislabeled," said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the panel. "This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It's creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes."

Supporters of the measure characterized it as something that would aid law enforcement in investigating Internet crimes. Not enacting it "would keep our law enforcement officials in the dark ages," said its primary sponsor, House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

"Both Democratic and Republican administrations have called for data retention for over a decade," said Smith, who noted that groups including the National Sheriffs' Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed the concept.

For a while, it seemed like opposition from a handful of conservative members of Congress, coupled with Democrats concerned about civil liberties, would derail the bill.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican and previous chairman of the House Judiciary committee, had criticized it at a hearing earlier this month, and again in the voting session that began yesterday and continued through this morning.

"I oppose this bill," said Sensenbrenner. "It can be amended, but I don't think it can be fixed... It poses numerous risks that well outweigh any benefits, and I'm not convinced it will contribute in a significant way to protecting children."

So did Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has made privacy a signature issue and introduced a geolocation bill last month after trying to curb the use of airport body-scanners two years ago.

The original version of the bill, introduced in May, required Internet providers to "retain for a period of at least 18 months the temporarily assigned network addresses the service assigns to each account, unless that address is transmitted by radio communication." The wireless exemption appeared to be the result of lobbying from major carriers, but drew the ire of the Justice Department, which says it didn't go far enough, and was removed in a revised draft.

The mobile exemption represents a new twist in the debate over data retention requirements, which has been simmering since the Justice Department pushed the topic in 2005, a development that was first reported by CNET. Proposals publicly surfaced in the U.S. Congress the following year, and President Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales said it's an issue that "must be addressed." So, eventually, did FBI director Robert Mueller.

In January 2011, CNET was the first to report that the Obama Justice Department was following suit. Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division, warned that wireless providers must be included because "when this information is not stored, it may be impossible for law enforcement to collect essential evidence."

Smith introduced a broadly similar bill in 2007, without the wireless exemption, calling it a necessary anti-cybercrime measure. "The legislation introduced today will give law enforcement the tools it needs to find and prosecute criminals," he said in a statement at the time.

"Retention" vs. "preservation"
At the moment, Internet service providers typically discard any log file that's no longer required for business reasons such as network monitoring, fraud prevention, or billing disputes. Companies do, however, alter that general rule when contacted by police performing an investigation--a practice called data preservation.

A 1996 federal law called the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act regulates data preservation. It requires Internet providers to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon the request of a governmental entity."

Because Internet addresses remain a relatively scarce commodity, ISPs tend to allocate them to customers from a pool based on whether a computer is in use at the time. (Two standard techniques used are the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet.)

In addition, an existing law called the Protect Our Children Act of 2008 requires any Internet provider who "obtains actual knowledge" of possible child pornography transmissions to "make a report of such facts or circumstances." Companies that knowingly fail to comply can be fined up to $150,000 for the first offense and up to $300,000 for each subsequent offense.

Creasy Bear

gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
Uh oh, Kirk... you better wipe those "artistic playground nudes" off your hard drive while you can.


PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
“Every piece of prematurely discarded information could be the footprint of a child predator
These types of statements are fucking scary. Imagine if it was "every home could house a terrorist" or "every backpack could contain drugs".
Ooops didn't see someone else beat me to it.....

I'll just use this thread to ask if some wackbagger called into Alex....


Call starts at 33 seconds and Alex talks to him for an hour, sounds like the typical wackbagger.


Darkness always says hello.
I just sat through that 15 minutes of hot air and AJ should be ashamed of himself for being such an asshole to someone who was conceding doubt to certain arguments that were being brought up. What a blowhard piece of shit he is.


Thin out the herd...
does the government frown upon bondage sex? She looks like she's being forced, but she's good with it....


Wackbag's Best Conservative
It's not like they have anything better to do.


Guess who's back? Hoffman's back
Maybe someday our politicians will actually READ the fucking legislation they are pushing through. Hopefully this gets crushed when actually voted on.


Guess who's back? Hoffman's back
Kirk, why don't you actually wait until the House, Senate and President pass this bill into law before coming to us with your Big Brother bull shit.