North American Network Operators Group

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Re: EU Official: IP Is Personal

  • From: Roland Perry
  • Date: Thu Jan 24 09:42:09 2008


In article <47988B2D.806@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, J. Oquendo <sil@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes
Putting aside for a moment the issue of "whose dollars pay for it" there is no fundamental contradiction in the proposition that private sector information can be mandated to be kept for minimum periods, is confidential, but nevertheless can be acquired by lawful subpoena.
Think about banking records, for example, which are confidential, routinely examined in criminal enquiries, and which have to be kept for various minimum periods by accountancy law. Operationally, the banks have had to invest in special departments to do just that, it's simply part of the cost of doing business.

The difference with banking records and computer generated records is, you can literally track down whether by PIN on an ATM along with for the majority of times an image taken from a camera. Try doing this with IP generated information. While law enforcement subpoenas away information, there is no guarantee person X is definitively behind even a static IP address. Its hearsay no matter how you want to look at this. Outside of the fact that lawyers still up to this day and age can't seem to grasp an all-in-one argument to get IP address information thrown out, what's next? Perhaps law enforcement agencies forcing vendors to include enough memory on wireless devices to track who logged in on a hotspot?


Everyone sees the need for all sorts of accounting on the networking side of things but how legitimate is the information when anyone can share MAC addresses, jump into hotspots anonymously, quickly break into wireless networks, venture into an Internet cafe paying cash, throw on a bootable (throwaway) distribution of BSD/Linux/Solaris, do some dirty deed and leave it up to someone else to take the blame.

It's a bit like licence plates on a car. Seeing a bank robber jump into a car and then using the licence plate as a "best guess" where to find the perpetrator has a lot of reasons why it's not 100% accurate. Maybe the licence plate was entirely false, or perhaps cloned from another vehicle the model colour and age. But there are enough dumb crooks out there driving cars with real licence plates, that as a first approximation it's still worth insisting everyone *has* a licence plate, and some semblance of responsibility to keep real owner details on file.
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Roland Perry