Proposed law will force ISPs to store customer data for 18 months

Law enforcement may get a new weapon in fighting off the bad guys in various crimes but customers will lose some of their privacy. reports that a proposed law would force ISPs to keep customer logs for 18 months and the requirement is getting support from The National Sheriffs' Association.

The law was first proposed in a bill sponsored in the US House of Represenatives by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). During a hearing about the law, Michael Brown, the sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia, said in prepared statements, "The limited data retention time and lack of uniformity among retention from company to company significantly hinders law enforcement's ability to identify predators when they come across child pornography."

Advocates of Internet privacy have expressed concerns about the proposed law as it is currently written. Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says that he will propose that the bill be rewritten, saying that "the language ignores reasonable data minimization procedures and doesn't envision how bad a data breach could be."

At the moment ISPs are currently required to retain user data for up to 90 days if law enforcement or government groups ask for them. A more recent law, the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, requires ISPs to make a report if it knows that child pornography has been transmitted via its network.

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