August 23, 2006

Qwest says not calling for data retention laws

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Telephone and broadband Web provider
Qwest Communications International Inc. on Wednesday denied
that it is calling for federal data retention laws in a
statement responding to a story on Web site. had reported that Qwest's Chief Privacy Officer
Jennifer Mardosz spoke in support of moves for federal data
retention laws at an Aspen, Colorado, summit.

Privacy rights have become a hot topic in recent months
amid a controversy over whether phone operators had illegally
shared customer records with government agencies working to
combat terrorism.

The report referred to a proposal from Colorado
Representative Diana DeGette that providers be required to keep
subscriber data for a year to help combat child pornography.

Mardosz disputed the report, saying she had been talking
about Colorado State laws that are already in place, not
showing support for proposed federal laws.

"I misspoke," Mardosz told Reuters in a phone interview.
"If there are proposals at the state or federal level we want
to be involved at the table when those discussions happen.
We're not asking for it."

Qwest said in a statement on Wednesday it does not believe
legislation is needed but that companies should voluntarily
retain records of Internet Protocol address assignments "to
protect customer privacy and safeguard citizens from online

One reason why Qwest would hold on to those records could
be if a customer was having a problem with their service.
Another could be if somebody was using a Web connection to
engage in identity theft, Mardosz said.

Qwest said it already voluntarily keeps IP address
assignment information, but not content such as user e-mail,
"obviating the need for federal or state requirements."

It said it keeps most IP address assignments for about a
year and only hands that data over to law enforcers in response
to a subpoena or a court order.