FBI Pushing ISPs to Keep Files on User Websites Visited

February 6, 2010

(ChattahBox)— The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are pushing Internet service providers to retain records of Web sites visited by customers for a period of two-years, to aid criminal investigations, including child pornography. But such record keeping raises privacy concerns, as well as the difficulty of capturing and storing Web site visits.

According to a report by CNET, FBI Director Robert Mueller would like to see ISPs storing “origin and destination information.” And state computer crime investigators, as well as local police forces, also support the storing of Web sites visited, in the same way that phone companies are required to record customer’s calls.

Greg Motta, the chief of the FBI’s digital evidence section, notes that the FBI is not advocating that emails or any other data containing actual content would be stored:

“The question at least for the bureau has been about non-content transactional data to be preserved: transmission records, non-content records…addressing, routing, signaling of the communication,” Motta said. Director Mueller recognizes, he added “there’s going to be a balance of what industry can bear…He recommends origin and destination information for non-content data.”

But there is a legal problem, as well as a practical impediment to storing deep packet inspection, such as actual urls. Other possibilities could include: the logging of the Internet protocol address of a Web site visited, the domain name, or a host name.

If the FBI has its way, ISP logs would only be available to law enforcement agencies through a subpoena or search warrant.

See CNET for more.


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