EFF believes that government-mandated data retention would be an overwhelmingly invasive and costly demand, raising serious privacy and free speech concerns — points well-argued at the hearing by John Morris, General Counsel of CDT [written testimony], and Kate Dean, Executive Director of the United States Internet Service Provider Association [written testimony].
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the hearing was Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein’s attack on EFF and our Best Practices for Online Service Providers (OSPs) whitepaper. As Weinstein testified, “In 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a user guide or a guide that was titled Best Practices for Online Service Providers which I think is unintentionally the best argument for Congress to intervene in this space than anything that I can say today.” Weinstein went on to object to some of the guidelines in the whitepaper, designed by attorneys and technologists to best balance the business and technical needs of OSPs and their users’ privacy and civil liberties. Apparently, the Justice Department thinks that informing Internet companies that data retention is not legally required, and also suggesting strategies for protecting their users’ privacy, is a clear and present danger to online safety.
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