The government wants your Internet service provider to keep better track of you

A thumbprint and computer data represents digital and Internet crime, and online theft.

It's a pretty complicated issue and one that is sure to get a lot of examination in coming months. Justice wants to be able to comb through records that associate people with crimes. So if a child pornography website is seized and there are IP addresses that have visited it many times, an ISP can associate those addresses with people and a criminal can be caught.

The ISPs are likely to push back on any new regulation since cataloging and storing and archiving all that data is a lot of work.

Privacy experts are concerned that that much data can be used in all sorts of ways. It could be hackable, a standard might be set where it can be subpoenaed for divorce proceedings.

We talk to Susan Freiwald, a professor at the University of San Francisco Law School. She says the Department of Justice must address the concerns of privacy and of the industry. All the while, Justice must avoid being too specific about what they actually want to do because they don't want criminals to know exactly where the fences are.

Paul Ohm is a University of Colorado Law School professor and a former Justice Department prosecutor. He details how this data might be used in an investigation and the complicated issues it would bring up.

Also in this program, Facebook's new Sponsored Stories. Your activity may be about to become an advertisement.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation