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Free Expression

Data Retention as a Tool for Investigating Internet Child Pornography and Other Internet Crimes.

CDT strongly agrees with the Subcommittee that child pornography is a horrific crime, and we have long supported increasing the resources available for its prosecution. The organization has spent extensive time examining the challenges raised by child pornography and seeking ways to fight this crime that are consistent civil liberties, and with openness, competition, and innovation on the Internet.

Mandatory data retention raises serious privacy and free speech concerns, and would also harm innovation and competition in the online context. We urge this Subcommittee to carefully consider the significant risks posed by a data retention mandate. Congress has already enacted strong data preservation requirements, which have proven to be effective tools for combating child pornography, without the panoply of problems raised by data retention. Mandatory data retention would cause significant harms and would, at the same time, not likely increase the number of child pornographers that this country is able to prosecute and put in prison.