Department of Justice calls for reform on ISP data retention

John Moe Jan 26, 2011

Right now, internet service providers hold on to data logs for about 90 days before its deleted. To compile and archive records of who connected with whom and where is a pretty big job and involves a lot of data being stored, especially as new devices come online all the time and we spend more of our day connected. But the DOJ on Tuesday called for that period to be greatly lengthened in order to help criminal investigations. As it stands, there is no electronic trail to sniff out for the accused if it’s more than 90 days. DOJ didn’t name a new target but in Europe it’s two years. ISPs are already saying they don’t want to be compelled to extend the time they hold data logs. Right now, most ISPs have “non-content” info about customers – stuff like when you sent an email and where information was sent, not what your email said, but there isn’t’ a standard for how long ISPs keep this information. Privacy advocates have some concerns , though, about which websites will be required to keep their customers’ data (e.g. will social networking sites have to do this?) and what exactly the DoJ will do with the information.

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