Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law that would require all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points, even hotels, local coffee shops, and home users, to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations.
Lamar Smith is at it again.
Opponents of the bill say it's an invasion of privacy, but that's not the case. The government can only access subscriber information as part of a criminal investigation.
Actually, all kinds of people can get access to the information in lots of difference contexts, and thats legally - nothing about breaches.
How many times have we seen TV detectives seek call logs of a suspect in order to determine who he has been talking to? What if the telephone companies simply said to the detectives, "Sorry, we get rid of that information after 24 hours?"
That would be called a payphone.
The police could constantly surveil everything that everyone ever does all the time so that in the event that a crime is committed they can find out what happened. They could require that tracking devices and surveillance systems be installed all over the place. This sort of data retention is a part of that puzzle. The advocates of this sort of practice constantly act as if the next piece of this total surviellance infrastructure that they want to erect is no big deal... It is a big deal and it is an invasion of privacy... in aggregate it is a huge deal and these people have absolutely no idea where they would draw the line.
Our society needs to have a reasonable conception of when it does and does not make sense for the government to force people to collect information specifically for the benefit of litigants. In my view it never makes sense. Litigants should be able to access, with lawful authorization, evidence that naturally exists, but the government should not force wholesale collection of new evidence, targeted at everyone in our society. That is the only reasonable place to draw a line.
Bill proposes ISPs, Wi-Fi keep logs for police | Politics and Law - CNET News