Forty-Nine Attorneys General Join AG Suthers’ Call For Congress To Adopt National Standard For ISP Data Retention

DENVER – In his capacity as chairman of the Criminal Law Committee of the National Attorneys General Association (NAAG), Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has called on Congress to adopt a national data retention standard for Internet Service Providers (ISP). Suthers sponsored a letter urging Congress to address data retention – a matter that law enforcement frequently cites as a major roadblock in their investigations of online predators. Attorneys General from forty-nine states and jurisdictions signed onto the letter. A copy of the letter is attached.

“This near unanimous support among my colleagues represents solid, bipartisan support for a national data retention requirement,” said Suthers. “We’re calling on Congress to dedicate the resources necessary to study this issue and implement a meaningful national standard that provides law enforcement with the tools necessary to combat Internet crimes against children.”

The letter notes that ISP data retention polices run the gamut, from as short as a few days to as long as a year or more. Whereas the attorneys general do not propose a specific recommendation, they note in their letter that data retention requirements are better suited for federal legislation than state legislation that might vary by jurisdiction.

“While I am generally reluctant to relinquish state control over law enforcement issues, given the ubiquitous nature of the Internet, a national standard is most appropriate,” said Suthers. “Technology has made it easier for predators to target our children; it is our duty to see that laws and regulations keep up.”

The letter notes that “while law enforcement is doing more to catch online predators, their investigations often tragically dead-end at the door of ISPs that have deleted information critical to determining a suspect’s name and physical location.”

In May 2005, Attorney General Suthers launched the Attorney General’s Safe Surfing Initiative. Earlier this month, Attorney General Suthers joined Gov. Owens as he signed HB- 1011, the cornerstone of the Safe Surfing Initiative, which gives law enforcement additional tools to crack down on Internet predators.

According to statistics provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in five children is solicited for sex while online.

Further information on the Attorney General’s Safe Surfing Initiative can be found at: http://www.ago.state.co.us/InternetSafety/SafeSurfing.cfm

NOTE: Co-Sponsors include Attorney General Jim Hood (MS), Attorney General Roy Cooper (NC), Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (ND), Attorney General Hardy Meyers (OR) and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (UT). Forty-five states and the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have signed-on. The participating jurisdictions include AL, AK, AS, AZ , AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VI, WA, WV, WI and WY.

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