Veteran tech political reporter Declan McCullagh determines Internet Safety Act would apply to everyone who runs a Wi-Fi network: The law imposes unheralded requirements for keeping records on who accesses a given network, something that governments want to track criminals (often citing child-pornography downloaders) regardless of the cost to individuals and businesses in dollars, sense, time, and privacy. Odd how the Republicans back this so strongly; it's the law-and-order thing. But Dems are behind a similar version of the bill.
The act would requires two years worth of data being stored for anyone providing "an electronic communication service or remote computing service." McCullagh's analysis is that this applies to basically every kind of network everywhere run for any purpose by anyone.
That sweeps in not just public Wi-Fi access points, but password-protected ones too, and applies to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities, and even government agencies. Voice over IP services may be covered too.
It's unclear what this could possibly mean for home users and casual network operators like cafes. I'm sure larger firms, like Wayport (now an AT&T division), already had data-retention policies and have had to work with law enforcement in the past. But what would I, with my home network, have to do?
Some home Wi-Fi routers do keep internal logs by default, and would record the MAC addresses and timestamps of when access occurred. How about, however, if yours doesn't? Or it keeps one month of data and then dumps it?
I don't think this law's scope was well thought out, clearly, and one hopes that ISPs, consumer groups, and Wi-Fi gateway makers band together to force some sense into it.