New Law Would Require ISPs to Retain User Logs and Subscriber Records for Two Years

In February, Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx.) and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tx.) introduced the Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth ("SAFETY") Act of 2009 (S. 436, H.R. 1076), which contains a proivision that would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to keep subscriber data for "at least" two years.  Specifically, Section 5 of the bill requires that ISPs retain "all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address." According to a recent announcement from Senator Cornyn, the new retention provision is needed to enable law enforcement officers to identify individuals involved with online child pornography. Several privacy advocates have taken issue with the bill’s data retention requirements.  According to senior attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Kevin Bankston, those requirements “unnecessarily threaten the privacy and anonymous speech rights of every law-abiding internet user” and would “create vast new troves of data vulnerable not only to government overreaching but also to any civil litigant wielding a subpoena.”

The legislation has been referred to committee in the House and Senate. 


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