Makin’ Lists

Once again, calls for lots of collection without an appreciation for the ways in which, once collected, such data might be used. After all, if the state is going to sell driver’s license information, what might be next? Justice Department takes aim at image-sharing sites | CNET

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been lobbying Congress for mandatory data retention, calling it a “national problem that requires federal legislation.” Gonzales has convened earlier private meetings to pressure industry representatives. And last month, Republicans introduced a mandatory data retention bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would let the attorney general dictate what must be stored and for how long.

Supporters of the data retention proposal say it’s necessary to help track criminals if police don’t immediately discover illegal activity, such as child abuse. Industry representatives respond by saying major Internet providers have a strong track record of responding to subpoenas from law enforcement.

[…] Often invoking terrorism and child pornography as justifications, the administration has argued that Internet providers must install backdoors for surveillance and has called for routers to be redesigned for easier eavesdropping. President Bush’s electronic surveillance program, which was recently modified, has drawn an avalanche of lawsuits.