[Raven] White House report says government wants to trace Net users

Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com> Mon, 06 March 2000 13:30 UTC

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Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 08:11:57 -0500
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Subject: [Raven] White House report says government wants to trace Net users
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of possible relevance...

The forthcoming report:



                        U.S. Wants to Trace Net Users
                        by Declan McCullagh (declan@wired.com)

                        3:00 a.m. 4.Mar.2000 PST
                        WASHINGTON -- The ease of hiding one's
                        identity on the Net is giving police
                        migraines and justifies providing broad
                        new powers to law enforcement, the
                        White House says in a forthcoming report.

                        The federal government should take steps
                        to improve online traceability and promote
                        international cooperation to identify
                        Internet users, according to a draft of
                        the report commissioned by President

                        Police should be able to determine the
                        source of hacker attacks or "anonymous
                        emails that contain bomb threats," states
                        the 200 KB document prepared by a
                        high-level working group chaired by
                        Attorney General Janet Reno.

                        Although the report was largely complete
                        before last month's prominent
                        denial-of-service attacks, it will likely
                        influence the debate over how the U.S.
                        government should respond to them.

                        The FBI has not made any arrests during
                        its investigation, and bureau officials
                        Tuesday told Congress that anonymity
                        and the global nature of the Internet
                        pose serious problems.

                        A White House spokesman said the report
                        is being finalized and "should be released
                        very soon."

                        The Working Group on Unlawful Conduct
                        on the Internet, which Clinton created in
                        August 1999 to consider new laws or
                        educational programs, includes senior
                        administration officials such as FBI
                        Director Louis Freeh, Treasury Secretary
                        Larry Summers, Commerce Secretary
                        William Daley, and representatives from
                        the military, DEA, and Secret Service.

                        The group focused on what it views as
                        the problem of anonymity, citing "the
                        need for real-time tracing of Internet
                        communications across traditional
                        jurisdictional boundaries, both
                        domestically and internationally [and] the
                        need to track down sophisticated users
                        who commit unlawful acts on the Internet
                        while hiding their identities," according to
                        the report.

                        Currently no laws require Internet users in
                        the United States to reveal their
                        identities before signing up for accounts,
                        and both fee-based and free services
                        offer anonymous mail, Web browsing, and
                        dialup connections.

                        Internet service providers should be
                        encouraged, though not required, to
                        maintain detailed records of what their
                        users are doing online. "Some industry
                        members may not retain certain system
                        data long enough to permit law
                        enforcement to identify online offenders,"
                        the report says.


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