The DOJ Thinks Internet Providers Should Store Data on Where You’ve Been

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Photo: iStockPhoto

At a hearing today, the Justice Department told Congress that Internet service providers need to start keeping track of what you're doing online so their criminal investigations don't keep getting "frustrated." Mandatory data retention was something endorsed by Alberto Gonzales under President Bush. Today's guidelines are the first public endorsement of the policy, aligning Obama's DOJ with House Republicans and against privacy advocates, although Attorney General Eric Holder has been supporting the practice since he was last in the DOJ in the nineties. No details have been given whether websites and social networks need to comply, or whether a coffee shop, say, would need to track users that log on and off its Wi-Fi network. So the FTC wants a do-not-track button for advertisers, but the DOJ feels comfortable forcing ISPs to track you more closely and then store that data for an indefinite period of time? It might be muddled, but at least the federal government's Internet policy is getting more nuanced than "It's a series of tubes, right?"

Justice Department seeks mandatory data retention
[CNET]