06/04/2009

Today is data logging day

The UK law comes into force today (based on an EU directive) that means ISPs and telcos have to keep records of emails and phone calls for up to a year.

Well telcos have already been keeping records of telephone calls because they have to bill calls and billing records have to be kept for seven years anyway.

The story for ISPs is slightly different (and potentially unworkable). If a customer uses their ISPs mail server to send out Email then the ISP has to record the time, the originator and the recipients of the Email. They don't have to log the contents (which would mean huge storage costs).

If a customer sends out their own Email without going through the ISP mail server, it obviously wont be logged. ISPs can force Email traffic to go through their servers (though this can be circumvented too if the customer tries hard enough).

Since most large ISPs (in the UK) are implementing what was known as Cleanfeed (the system that allows ISPs to block content based on an IWF blacklist), they can also use that system to log web requests.

Logging data can be a huge burden for ISPs as the volumes get very large very quickly.
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