Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), who is convening tomorrow's House crime subcommittee hearing, is a longtime supporter of forcing Internet providers to store additional data about their users. So is the new chairman of the full House Judiciary committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who introduced a data retention bill in an earlier session of Congress.
As a Justice Department official in the 1990s, Attorney General Eric Holder touted the idea of mandatory data retention. In 1999, Holder said "certain data must be retained by ISPs for reasonable periods of time so that it can be accessible to law enforcement."
Weinstein, who has previously testified (PDF) on intellectual property infringement and was chief of the violent crime section of the U.S. Attorney's office in Baltimore, stopped short of offering a specific proposal in his prepared remarks. While the lack of forced data retention can be "extremely harmful," he didn't provide details on duration or scope, including whether Web sites and social networking sites should be swept into any requirements.
Other excerpts from Weinstein's written testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security:
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