Blown To Bits

The FBI Presses for Web Tracking

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by Harry Lewis

Declan McCullagh of CNET reports that the FBI is pressing Internet Service Providers to keep records of what Web sites customers visit and to keep the logs for two years, to assist in its criminal investigations. It has also asked Congress to require ISPs to keep such logs, arguing that it is only trying to preserve the investigative capabilities it had in the telephone era: for 24 years, phone companies have been required to keep for 18 months logs of the toll calls their customers have placed. McCullagh writes,

What remains unclear are the details of what the FBI is proposing. The possibilities include requiring an Internet provider to log the Internet protocol (IP) address of a Web site visited, or the domain name such as, a host name such as, or the actual URL such as

While the first three categories could be logged without doing deep packet inspection, the fourth category would require it. That could run up against opposition in Congress, which lambasted the concept in a series of hearings in 2008, causing the demise of a company, NebuAd, which pioneered it inside the United States.

Many interesting details there, in particular that the line between “content” and “non-content” information is so fuzzy on the Internet. Would search queries, for example, be content or non-content?

This is way too much information retention.

One Response to “The FBI Presses for Web Tracking”

  1. David R Says:

    Wow, not surprised but shocked at how much information will be needed to be saved. I do not agree on this request from the FBI. It will be to much freedom to be sacrificed especially considering how much invasion of privacy that this could be.