I want to preface this email with the statement that I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT support this law, it is an invasion of privacy and places an undue burden of responsibility on an ISP.

Now that being said, as I read the article, and as some have pointed out the information being requested for archive is merely websites visited and email address sent to. This information is trivial to gather and really not that burdensome to archive. I currently run about 4Mbps-5Mbps of traffic from 8am to midnight and a months worth of these logs uncompressed only takes up about 7G of space. Compression will save me 60% of that so it is more like 3G for a month of 4-5Mbps. This fits nicely on a single DVD-R for achiving once a month. Even scaling this up to 30X the traffic for a DVD/day gets you 120-150Mbps daily average traffic.

Your total cost on something like this would be
1. a Mikrotik box (or any router that supports the netflow protocol) to sit right before your edge router (or as your edge router).
2. A PC to capture the data with a DVD+-R drive total cost < $500.
3. And then a spindle of DVD media at ~ $15/100 DVDs.

This puts the grand total in at well under $2000 one time cost and then whatever personnel cost you want to assign to burning a DVD once a month, or if you are lucky enough to have enough customers to require 120Mbps, once a day.

I think it is important if we are going to draft something up to address this issue that we address it with facts. For most ISPs coming up with the money to achieve this while a PITA is not going to cause the business to go bankrupt. I achieved this using equipment I already have in place. My DS3 MT router sends the netflow data to the box I use for system/network monitoring. I currently do not archive this data to DVD because I have only been collecting it for a month, but I highly doubt I will unless required to by law. The only reason I collect this data is for IP accounting and troubleshooting and will probably keep no more than a month or two of the full data. But it sure comes in handy when a customer calls up and says that they haven't had internet for the past 2 weeks and I can pull up the charts that show they have. Or they say that things have been running real slow lately and I can look at the flow data and see that their kids have been using P2P applications or doing large FTP downloads.

Sam Tetherow
Sandhills Wireless

Butch Evans wrote:
On Sun, 4 Jun 2006, George Rogato wrote:

1) Does the government have a right to know the actions of Americans on the internet?

This is not really at issue. At least it is not really of any concern for us here.

2) Is this a responsibility of the ISP to bear the burden of gathering this information or should the burden be carried by the feds themselves with little or no cost to the ISP?

THIS is the real issue that ISPs face. The problem that we all have with this is multifaceted. First, (and perhaps most importantly) is the cost that many ISPs will face to comply with the requirements. In many cases, this cost will be both direct (for hardware) and indirect (network reconfiguration). Also, many ISPs are set up in such a way that compliance will be nearly impossible. Let me provide just a couple examples.

First, many ISPs use private IP space internally for their customers. For these ISPs, any monitoring done by an outside entity (i.e. AT&T) will be completely useless.

Another example, would be the many ISPs that have several diverse networks. I have several customers that have 3 or 4 distinct networks (one has 8). These ISPs would be required to store this data in either one location, or purchase the equipment for each network.

It is my belief that WISPA should create a stance against any requirement for WISPs to store customer traffic patterns for any period. The very idea is hideously un-American in the first place. Be that as it may, it is technically difficult, and financially unfair for many smaller ISPs to have to store this information at all.

This thread started out as we should not be allowing the government to know our every move. This is a political discussion that can not and should not be decided by an ISP, but rather the entire country. We don't have any jurisdiction on issues such as this.

George, this is one area where we disagree. This is NOT a "political discussion". This is an issue that directly impacts every ISP (wireless or wired). It is, perhaps, true that the political implications are what Mark was driving at, but the issue at hand is NOT political in nature. It IS financial and technical.

We do however have a right to contest who is responsible for the burden of gathering this information.

OK. If that is the case, wouldn't you agree that this is something that SHOULD be addressed by WISPA? I don't agree with much that Mark had to say (really, it was the "implications" he made that I disagreed with), but his point that there should be SOME action on the part of WISPA is one that I do agree with.

  Sam Tetherow
  Sandhills Wireless

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