This afternoon, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) clarified remarks he made during the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee’s hearing on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, also known as ECPA. 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I have long opposed data retention and do not believe that any ECPA reform package should include such a mandate.  Data ‘retention’ requires a provider to retain information about the Internet use of all of its customers.  A data retention mandate raises privacy concerns because it affects all users, not just bad actors.

 “By contrast, I support a far more targeted approach, data preservation, which is already found in current law.  The law requires providers to preserve data about the Internet use of a particular subscriber when law enforcement has evidence of wrongdoing.  Current law allows for a retention period of 90 days, renewable for an additional 90-days.  At today’s hearing, I was inquiring as to whether extending this 180 preservation requirement would be useful to law enforcement.  I still believe that the more cumbersome proposals for data retention belong ‘in the dustbin of history.’”