According to Declan, US politicians have eagerly latched onto the EU's data retention dircetive to declare that the US should also be requiring ISPs to engage in mass snooping. The excuse is that such mass surveillance will help to protect children.
"At a hearing last week, Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who heads a House oversight and investigations subcommittee, suggested that data retention laws would be useful to police investigating crimes against children.
"I absolutely think that that is an idea that is worth pursuing," an aide to Whitfield said in an interview on Thursday. "If those files were retained for a longer period of time, it would help in the uncovering and prosecution of these crimes." Another hearing is planned for April 27.
Internet providers generally offer three reasons why they are skeptical of mandatory data retention: first, it is not clear who will be able to access records of someone's online behavior; second, it's not clear who will pay for the data warehouses to be constructed; and third, it's not clear that police are hindered by current law as long as they move swiftly in investigations.
"What we haven't seen is any evidence where the data would have been helpful, where the problem was not caused by law enforcement taking too long when they knew a problem existed," said Dave McClure, president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association"