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FBI Wants Records Kept of Websites Visited   no comments

Posted at Feb 18, 2010 @ 6:30pm News

I tend to do a lot of Facebook and Google stalking.  Type in the name, see what he or she has been up to, and clear history.  It’s pretty harmless and who is going to find out anyway?  What, the FBI?  Really?  Yes, really. The FBI is pushing to have ISPs keep detailed records of what web sites customers have visited for up to two years.

FBI Director, Robert Mueller is asking Congress to make it mandatory that Internet providers store users’ “origin and destination information.”  Along with the FBI, this idea is popular with state computer crime investigators.  Both groups believe that logging user history would help with investigations of child pornography and other serious crimes.

Since 1986, phone companies have been required to keep a record of “the name, address, and telephone number of the caller, telephone number called, date, time and length of the call” for a period of 18 months.  Greg Motta, chief of the FBI’s digital evidence section, is arguing that this new act is merely an extension of call logs and is necessary for the FBI to adapt to the newer technology.

The details of the proposal are still very vague.  It has not been decided whether Internet providers would need to log IP addresses, domains, host names, or actual URLs of the sites visited.  If the FBI insists on the fourth possibility, there could be serious legal implications.  Recording URLs visited would most likely be considered deep packet inspection, a violation of the Wiretap Act.

Another problem is practicability.  Eighteen million website page hits occur every hour.  Multiply this by 24 hours by 700 days and you have a ton of data.  Sorting through this would be very time consuming and might not be worth the possible advantages.

The Justice Department is currently weighing the positives and negatives of such a law and, as of the writing of this article, does not have an official position on data retention.

Abbey Connick

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Written by admin on February 18th, 2010

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