A Whole New Frontier of Electronic Discovery?

News.com’s Declan McCullough reports that a federal move to log everything you do on the Internet gained a little steam today. Baby Bell broadband provider Qwest Communications has said it backs a bill that would require your broadband provider to keep track of what you do on the Web for at least a year — with an option to let the FCC extend that to “for at least a year after you cancel your service.”

Data retention is being touted as a boon to law enforcement fighting terrorism and child exploitation, but of course, once it’s known that such records are kept, how could local police not want them for a whole range of investigations? How could litigation involving the whole range of civil issues not lead to subpoenas for home broadband records? As the infamous AOL data leak revealed, that kind of information can create a disturbing — and revealing — personal portrait.

“Qwest’s enthusiastic endorsement of mandatory data retention could make it politically easier for members of Congress to enact new laws even if other companies remain staunchly opposed,” McCullough writes amid a fistful of links to the legislation and to coverage of the issues of data privacy.

Brian McDonough

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