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This piece from CBS caught my eye.

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.

If ever there was a topic for discussion on DKos, this has got to be it.
http://www.cbsnews.com/...

The article goes on to say:

The legislation, which echoes a measure proposed by one of their Democratic colleagues three years ago, would impose unprecedented data retention requirements on a broad swath of Internet access providers and is certain to draw fire from businesses and privacy advocates.

Aside from the "Big Brother" images such surveillance conjures up, I wonder about the legal ramifications of such a law. For example, do any of the legal experts out there know if evidence gathered by such internet surveillance is currently admissible in court?

This seems like another legal Pandora's box, the type that the Bush administration opened with such impunity.

Of course the republicans proposing it: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, are trying to sell the measure on the basis of "Keeping our children safe" (Hmmm. Where have we heard that before?) But the most disturbing thing about this topic is the broad base of support this type of intrusive surveillance is getting:

This tends to be a bipartisan sentiment: Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat, said in 1999 that "certain data must be retained by ISPs for reasonable periods of time so that it can be accessible to law enforcement." Rep. John Conyers, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that FBI proposals for data retention legislation "would be most welcome."

While I recognize people's desire to keep themselves safe from internet predators, I don't think that giving Law enforcement (Read Government authorities) carte blanche to access all internet records is going to solve the problem. All it will do is ensure a further erosion of our basic right to privacy.

Comments?  

Originally posted to lofatchow on Sat Feb 21, 2009 at 11:58 AM PST.

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