The data retention debate - pitting privacy rights against policing efforts - is about to heat up again.
CNET reported late Monday that the U.S. Justice Department will tell Congress at a hearing today that criminal investigations are being hampered without a law that forces Internet service providers to track and store data about their customers' online activity.
Currently, some providers have their own retention policies in place, setting time limits on how long it keeps customer data. But they're not uniform. And others keep incomplete records, if any at all, and likely would be unable to assist in any investigations.
There are laws in place already to address some of these immediate concerns, including a "preservation" act, which requires providers to retain any record for 90 days when a government agency makes such a request. But the Justice Department appears to be pushing for something broader, something that woulda by type of data file.
Details of the Justice Department's recommendation were unclear, though a CNET source did say that the department will not offer specifics at the House hearing today but instead will offer examples of how the lack of a law has hindered investigations.