Log this!

It will soon become law for internet service providers to keep a log of all customers’ connections to services, for a period of 12 months.

Naturally this has been met with consternation by people labelling the bill as “The Snoopers Charter”.

However, this is not really a new thing.  ISP’s have been logging connections for as long as I can remember.

They might have not had a legal requirement to do so, but they have been doing it.

It’s no use them suddenly becoming all reserved about it now, claiming it’s an infringement of human rights and the usual faux-rage.

If connections haven’t been logged, how then have people been warned about their use of Torrents by their own ISP?

I can give a real world experience of this too. 

A couple of years ago I was working on the web team for a well-known insurance company when I was contacted by an internal team with a strange request. 

They wanted me to provide an IP address associated with a customer’s policy.

After some super-sleuth hacking (well, a simple SQL query, but don’t steal my thunder) I found the IP address used by the customer when he took the policy out.

The reason for obtaining the IP address?  Well, there’d been a murder see, and the Police were going to obtain the necessary deets about the guy, all from his IP address.

They’d have been able to ascertain who that IP address was assigned to at the date and time the policy was taken out, along with what pages were visited.

Again, in the same job I was involved in fraud.  That’s combatting it, as opposed to committing it, natch.

In doing so, I regularly provided the anti-fraud team with IP addresses which had more than likely taken out policies for dodgy reasons, such as ghost brokering.

This data will have been passed to the Po-Po’s who will have requested the details from ISP’s.

ISP’s have also kept logs for diagnostic reasons too, without logs, it is impossible to diagnose problems.

Are you going to take the word of a user over a log containing real, factual data?  No.

So why is everyone so bothered?  Do you have something to hide?

The fact is that while all your internet connections are being logged, this isn’t to say your traffic is.  Your traffic may be monitored, but again, that’s nothing new.

Logging connections means the logs can be analysed for purposes of anti-terrorism or to prevent the radicalisation of the vulnerable.

You can rest assured that nobody is looking at your logs and is bothered by the fact you’ve been browsing www.fatgirls.com or that you’ve been playing about with Grindr on your phone when you’ve a wife and kids.

Similarly, nobody will be bothered that you’ve downloaded the latest film, game or CD.

There is that much internet traffic, and the logs will be so big nobody is really at risk of anything unless they’re connected with ISIS and the like.

If you’re that bothered, you’ve definitely got something to hide, and in that case you’re probably already using Tor.

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