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Hawaii's proposed online tracking law comes under fire from ISPs, civil libertarians

Amar Toor, @amartoo
01.27.12
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There may be some trouble brewing in paradise, thanks to a seemingly draconian law currently under consideration in Hawaii's state legislature. If passed, H.B. 2288 would require all ISPs within the state to track and store information on their customers, including details on every website they visit, as well as their own names and addresses. The measure, introduced on Friday, also calls for this information to be recorded on each customer's digital file and stored for a full two years. Perhaps most troubling is the fact that the bill includes virtually no restrictions on how ISPs can use (read: "sell") this information, nor does it specify whether law enforcement authorities would need a court order to obtain a user's dossier from an ISP. And, because it applies to any firm that "provides access to the Internet," the law could conceivably be expanded to include not just service providers, but internet cafes, hotels or other businesses.

Democratic Representative John Mizuno is the lead sponsor of the bill, though his support already seems to be waning. Not long after H.B. 2288 was introduced, Republican Representative Kymberly Pine told CNET that she would be withdrawing her support for it, adding that her intent was not to track Hawaiian web surfing, but to simply protect "victims of crime." "We do not want to know where everyone goes on the Internet," Pine explained. "That's not our interest. We just want the ability for law enforcement to be able to capture the activities of crime." Pine went on to acknowledge that the proposal has come under fire from many civil libertarians and internet companies within the state, and that the measure will likely be revised. In retrospect, she said, the concept of storing personal information "was a little broad," and Hawaii's lawmakers "deserved" the criticism they received during today's hearing.

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