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Source: SecurityFocus.com - Posted by Eric Lubow   
Government When you use the Internet, a certain record of your activities is invariably created and - at least for a short time - retained by your Internet Service Provider. For example, when you establish an account with your ISP - whether it is AOL, Comcast, Verizon, Time-Warner, or any of thousands of ISPs you generally provide the ISP with your name, address, telephone number, and if it is a paid service, some form of payment - credit card, bank account, etc. The ISP will typically retain this account information, and will also keep records that associate this account information with any accounts that you create. Thus, while you think you are so clever creating the online persona "cyber-stud" the ISP knows that you are really a twenty nine year old permanent undergraduate engineering student living at home in your mother's basement.

This "real world" account information - associating a cyber persona with a real identity - is a gold mine for marketers, law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community, as they want to know who their customers or the users of online services really are. This information can be used for good or for evil. If there is an online pedophile or terrorist, one certainly wants the police to have the ability to, in close-to-real-time when necessary, be able to learn who these people are, and physically where they are as well. One would think that the police would need a subpoena or court order for this information, right? Well, not exactly.

Read this full article at SecurityFocus.com

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