Regulating Intermediaries

Declan McCullagh wrote a few days ago about two bills proposed in Congress to enact a federal law that would require ISPs, wi-fi hot spots, and home users, among others,  “to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations.”  The stated goal is, of course, to “keep[] our children safe.”  The companion bills (one filed in each of the House and Senate) are titled the “Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act”–in other words, the Internet Safety Act.  Apparently these bills will allow Youth to continue to facilitate the exploitation of other youth.

The bills’ operative language:  “A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user.”  This means I will need to keep records about house guests who go online through my wireless network, as will Starbucks, Boston University, airport wi-fi, everyone who assigns dynamic IP addresses with DHCP.  I’m not set up to keep such records, and for large ISPs or wi-fi access point providers retaining the data required by these bills could be burdensome.

Another brick in the we-gotta-do-something wall.

2 thoughts on “Regulating Intermediaries”

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