Bill would require ISPs to keep user data

Feb. 13, 2007 at 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress would require Internet service providers to keep user data.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, says that the bill, part of the SAFETY Act, is aimed at predators who seek out children or child pornography on line, The Washington Post reported. The measure gives the U.S. attorney general the power to write regulations on what data would need to be preserved and how long it would have to be kept.

Lauren Weinstein, one of the founders of People for Internet Responsibility, told the Post that data retention is the most important issue for those concerned with privacy and Internet freedom.

"This bill is so incredibly bad that it opens up a whole array of things that can go wrong, because there's nothing in this legislation to prevent the attorney general from simply saying, 'Save everything forever,'" Weinstein told the newspaper.

The European Union requires ISPs to save data for two years.

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