US Attorney General demands ISPs snoop on customers to stop

Brett Glass brett at
Thu Jun 1 01:45:29 PDT 2006



For IP, if you'd like. As an ISP, I can tell you that what the USDOJ
is demanding in the article below is not only an unprecedented, vast,
unwarranted intrusion that should have every citizen up in arms but
would be extremely costly and in many cases simply impossible.

For example, the article mentions that the DOJ wants ISPs to retain
lists of the IP addresses used by every user. But we, as an ISP, do
not give each user a unique IP address; we use network address
translation, or NAT. To abandon the use of NAT would not only
compromise users' safety (by making them more susceptible to Internet
worms and other attacks); it would also require us to spend thousands
of dollars to obtain more addresses from ARIN and to re-architect our
network. What's more, the imposition of such a requirement upon all
ISPs would instantly exhaust the remaining pool of IPV4 addresses at
a time when most equipment is not ready for IPV6.

The requirement that all VOIP calls be monitored is likewise absurd.
We don't provide VOIP ourselves; we merely provide the pipes. We
don't even know when a VOIP call is taking place on our network. We
would have no way to monitor and track every one on behalf of the
government, even if we were willing to (which we are not; we owe it
to our users never to participate in such blatantly unconstitutional

Note that the government first attempted to use kiddie porn as an
excuse to destroy our liberty, but seems to have decided that
terrorism is a more effective excuse -- despite the fact that there
have been no terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11.

The belief that everything and everyone must be monitored in the hope
of preventing possible criminal activity is a hallmark of a police
state. Is this what the US is coming to? If so, the 9/11 terrorists
have won. By killing fewer people than died in the recent earthquake,
they have given an irresponsible government an excuse to destroy our
freedom, and have successfully cowed the populace into allowing it to

--Brett Glass


Terrorism invoked in ISP snooping proposal

By Declan McCullagh

Story last modified Wed May 31 06:12:45 PDT 2006

In a radical departure from earlier statements, Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales has said that requiring Internet service providers
to save records of their customers' online activities is necessary in
the fight against terrorism, CNET has learned.

Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller privately met with
representatives of AOL, Comcast, Google, Microsoft and Verizon last
week and said that Internet providers--and perhaps search engines--
must retain data for two years to aid in anti-terrorism prosecutions,
according to multiple sources familiar with the discussion who spoke
on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

"We want this for terrorism," Gonzales said, according to one person
familiar with the discussion.

Gonzales' earlier position had only emphasized how mandatory data
retention would help thwart child exploitation.

In a speech last month at the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children, Gonzales said that Internet providers must retain
records to aid investigations of criminals "abusing kids and sending
images of the abuse around the world through the Internet."

If data retention becomes viewed primarily as an anti-terrorism
measure, recent legal and political spats could complicate the
Justice Department's efforts to make it standard practice.

Especially after recent reports that AT&T has opened its databases to
the National Security Agency, Internet and telecommunications
executives have become skittish about appearing to be cooperating too
closely with the federal government's surveillance efforts.

In addition, the positive publicity that Google received during its
legal dispute with the Justice Department over search terms has
demonstrated to Internet companies the benefits of objecting to
government requests on privacy grounds.

"A monumental data trove is a crazy thing from a privacy
perspective," said one person familiar with Friday's discussions.
"It's crazy that the U.S. government is going to retain more data
than the Chinese government does."

Comcast said in a statement that "we fully share the attorney
general's concern with the need to combat illegal use of the Internet
for child pornography, terrorism and other illegal activities. We
applaud the attorney general's initiative in convening an internal
task force on this issue and look forward to continuing to cooperate
with him and the FBI."

"The reasons for skepticism are growing," said Jim Harper, an analyst
at the free-market Cato Institute and member of the Department of
Homeland Security's Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. He
predicted the reaction among Internet and telecom companies will be
"mildly unfavorable but people are not yet to the point where they'll
say the emperor has no clothes."

More at

Sidebar: ISP snooping time line

In events first reported by CNET, Bush administration
officials have said Internet providers must keep track of what
Americans are doing online. Here's the time line:

June 2005: Justice Department officials quietly propose data
retention rules.

December 2005: European Parliament votes for data retention of up to
two years.

April 14, 2006: Data retention proposals surface in Colorado and the
U.S. Congress.

April 20, 2006: Attorney General Gonzales says data retention "must
be addressed."

April 28, 2006: Rep. DeGette proposes data retention amendment.

May 16, 2006: Rep. Sensenbrenner drafts data retention legislation,
but backs away from it two days later.

May 26, 2006: Gonzales and FBI Director Mueller meet with Internet
and telecommunications companies.

Details of the Justice Department's proposal remain murky. One
possibility is requiring Internet providers to record the Internet
addresses that their customers are temporarily assigned. A more
extensive mandate would require them to keep track of the identities
of Americans' e-mail and instant messaging correspondents and save
the logs of Internet phone calls.

You are subscribed as eugen at
To manage your subscription, go to

Archives at:

----- End forwarded message -----
Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820  
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

[demime 1.01d removed an attachment of type application/pgp-signature which had a name of signature.asc]

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list