The Justice Department will ask Congress to make it mandatory for Internet service providers to retain data on their users’ activity. Law enforcement officials already can ask for data to be preserved, but Justice would like to have more robust snooping capabilities in order to investigate and prosecute “almost every type of crime.”

ISPs are required to make the records they do have available to law enforcement upon request, and many Internet providers, including cellular networks, telcos and cable companies, already retain data for government access.

According to this CNET report, the Justice Department would like to force providers large and small to retain information.

Not surprisingly, the push for mandatory data retention originated in the Bush administration. — PZS


Criminal investigations “are being frustrated” because no law currently exists to force Internet providers to keep track of what their customers are doing, the U.S. Department of Justice will announce tomorrow. CNET obtained a copy of the department’s position on mandatory data retention–saying Congress should strike a “more appropriate balance” between privacy and police concerns–that will be announced at a House of Representatives hearing tomorrow.

“Data retention is fundamental to the department’s work in investigating and prosecuting almost every type of crime,” Jason Weinstein, deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division, will say, according to his written testimony. “The problem of investigations being stymied by a lack of data retention is growing worse.”

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