As governments all over the world step up the pressure for internet surveillance, we lift the lid on the shady world of ISP enforcment and uncover the international pressures that will be forcing them to work with police and mysterious other bodies.

The regulation of ISPs in the UK was originally a matter for a voluntary Code of Practice, established back in 2003 presumably as a mechanism to allow the Echelon eavesdropping project time to catch up with intensifying internet usage. It included a requirement for ISPs to maintain comprehensive records of customer activities for 12 months, with the stark warning that if ISPs refused to comply, then the law would be changed and they would be forced to. Hardly voluntary, one might say. The rationale of the time was to help law enforcers stay ahead of the game when tracing pedophiles and their ilk.

That was back in 2003, and the EU now plans to compel all ISPs throughout Europe to keep records of internet activity for 12 months, with telephone records being retained for "at least" 6 months. Their rationale as we approach 2006? To actively pursue terrorist activity and aid ?other law enforcement agencies?. Either pedophiles have ceased to exist or they felt it suited their political agenda to milk the threat of terrorism.

An unidentified UK ISP Blueyonder employee let slip to one of our readers that they routinely receive lists of IP addresses that are to be monitored for various ?law enforcement? purposes, and that the resultant data was processed and provided to those requesting it. According to the information received, the Business Software Alliance and the BPI are amongst many requesting such information, although requests for any data identifying their clients go unanswered. Obviously if this is the case, it is likely to alter dramatically with the introduction of planned new legislation. They will simply have to comply.

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