Ten days ago, the FBI called Defense Tech, looking for information about Adrian Lamo, the so-called "Homeless Hacker." Get ready to turn over your notes about Lamo, an agent warned.Now, SecurityFocus.com's Mark Rasch is shedding new light on the FBI's move:
The demand that journalists preserve their notes is being made under laws that require ISP's and other "providers of electronic communications services" to preserve, for example, e-mails stored on their service, pending a subpoena, under a statute modified by the USA-PATRIOT Act.The purpose of that law was to prevent the inadvertent destruction of ephemeral electronic records pending a subpoena. For example, you could tell an ISP that you were investigating a hacking case, and that they should preserve the audit logs while you ran to the local magistrate for a subpoena.It was never intended to apply to journalist's records.Similarly, the letters go on to inform the reporters that the FBI intends to get an order for production of records under the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act, a statute that applies only to ISPs. Citing that law, they insist that the journalist is mandated to preserve records for at least the next three months and possibly longer. This demand is all the more egregious in that it comes more than a year after the articles and interviews first appeared -- after any actual Internet logs would have been routinely deleted.THERE'S MORE: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is now weighing in on the FBI's calls.