Skip to main content

U.S. House Judiciary Committee approves new ISP data retention bill

house judiciaryToday a U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a new piece of legislation that would force Internet service providers to save logs of all their customers’ activities for 12 months, on the off chance that the data might aid future police investigations concerning child pornography. The H.R. 1981 bill passed with a 19-10 vote with more Republicans voting for it than Democrats.

Proponents of the H.R. 1981 bill have titled it the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. It’s believed by some that the legislation will help lift law enforcement out of the “dark ages”. Agents will be able to subpoena IP information instead of needing a court-ordered warrant. Investigators will have a further leg up when identifying child porn distributors and users since the bill ensures that the “footprints of predators are not erased,” according to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan believes the bill is mislabeled. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes,” he says.

Rep. Lofgren of California, a leading Democrat in opposition to the bill said was a “stalking horse for a massive expansion of federal power.”

A last minute rewrite of the controversial bill made it so that Internet providers are required to store customers’ names, bank account numbers, IP addresses, credit card numbers and home addresses. CNET points out that a previous version of the bill from May required ISPs to retain temporarily assigned addresses for 18 months unless the address was transmitted by radio communication.

Currently, ISPs routinely discard log files not required for business, such as fraud prevention. However, the exception is due to the 1996 Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act where police or any governmental entity can make ISPs hold a record they have in their possession for 90 days. Providers are also required by a 2008 Act to report any child pornography transmissions they gain knowledge of. It may be worth noting that Australia is pushing for similar ISP control to crack down on child predators.

Editors' Recommendations

Jeff Hughes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I'm a SF Bay Area-based writer/ninja that loves anything geek, tech, comic, social media or gaming-related.
Skype now supports 911 calls in the U.S.
iPhone with the Skype mobile app loading screen.

Skype has updated its mobile and desktop apps to allow emergency calling in the U.S. for the first time in its 18-year history. Calls to 911 are also possible via Skype’s web-based service, notes for the recently released Skype 8.80 showed.

Emergency calling from Skype could come in handy if you find yourself in a tricky situation without a phone but have a computer close by, or if phone lines are down but you can get online.

Read more
The Interplanetary File System: How you’ll store files in the future
Cloud storage for downloading an isometric. A digital service or application with data transmission. Network computing technologies. Futuristic Server. Digital space. Data storage. Vector illustration.

When you upload a file or send a tweet, your information is stashed in some corporation-owned mega data center in the middle of nowhere. The endless racks of computers in these facilities hold millions of ledgers, and with a flick of a switch, companies can censor or misuse the data.

But what if instead of handing it to, say Amazon or Google, your data is broken down into pieces and scattered across the globe so that no one except you and your key -- not even the government -- can access it?

Read more
The best hurricane trackers for Android and iOS in 2022
Truck caught in gale force winds.

Hurricane season strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in its direct path, as well as distanced loved ones who worry for their safety. If you've ever sat up all night in a state of panic for a family member caught home alone in the middle of a destructive storm, dependent only on intermittent live TV reports for updates, a hurricane tracker app is a must-have tool. There are plenty of hurricane trackers that can help you prepare for these perilous events, monitor their progress while underway, and assist in recovery. We've gathered the best apps for following storms, predicting storm paths, and delivering on-the-ground advice for shelter and emergency services. Most are free to download and are ad-supported. Premium versions remove ads and add additional features.

You may lose power during a storm, so consider purchasing a portable power source,  just in case. We have a few handy suggestions for some of the best portable generators and power stations available. 

Read more