ISPreview - ISPs Raise Concerns Over Data Retention Proposals
ISPs Raise Concerns Over Data Retention
By: Mark Jackson - May 27th, 2008 : Page 2 -of- 3
"To store every email for every customer would be a nightmare (do we store spam?)"

Likewise Simon Davies, a Director for IDNet (, agrees “[we don’t] really have a problem with the concept of archiving basic logs. After all, we keep email date/timestamps so that we can prove to customers that a particular message was successfully delivered etc.” Davies continued on to note concerns over the costs and its legal implications, “we are most concerned about ‘and to modify the procedures for acquiring communications data’ - in our view this information should only be available under Court Order. For any other Government Agency or body to be given the right to demand such information at a whim would be inappropriate.”

David Mitchell, Commercial Manager for UK ISP Quik Internet (, is equally frustrated by the situation: “Personally, I think the proposal is ridiculous. This government has a history of announcing 'new' initiatives that aren't properly thought through, or practical.  This is another one. If we just store basic (e.g. ip address visited, address email sent to) who would want that. If anyone was doing bad things, they would just move their website every few months.

To store every email for every customer would be a nightmare (do we store spam?). Sooner or later, some ISP would be infiltrated and data security would be compromised, although the industry would probably take more care of the data than the Government does.”

What about individual’s rights. This bill makes the KGB look soft.”

In contrast to that, Derek Lewis, the Managing Director of SurfAnyTime and FireFly ( /, believes that the system is viable but ISPs should not be forced to foot the bill, “I do not think we will incur a significant increase in costs to support this directive but any increase in costs directly attributed to compliance should not be borne by ISPs or their subscribers, additional costs should be alleviated by the Government, possibly by potential tax breaks.

As far as internet access is concerned, we already store the basic information required by the directive for a period in excess of the guidelines however we would have to increase storage capacity to comply with the storage of email information as we currently cycle logs every 30 days.

Using email as an example, from my reading of the bill it's not the content that is being recorded just simple information – i.e. time, sender, recipient, IP address etc. I'd bet my bottom dollar this is already being done anyway by all ISPs, it has to for basic diagnostics and troubleshooting.

In my opinion the only thing that the bill is doing is forcing ISPs to do what they probably are already doing anyway, there won't be a Big-Brother-like central database holding all the information, it'll be the ISPs holding it and only releasing it under legal obligation. This has been the case since RIPA was introduced.”

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