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Copyright (c) 2003 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 
Berkeley Technology Law Journal

ARTICLE: Electronic Evidence Compliance - A Guide for Internet Service Providers

Fall, 2003

18 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 945


Prepared by the U.S. Internet Service Provider Association+


Internet service providers ("ISPs") are increasingly being asked to provide assistance to government agencies in both criminal and national security investigations. The types of assistance being requested can take many forms, including:

. a request for non-content records (for example, billing records or transactional records);

. a request to preserve certain records or information;

. a request to implement a pen register or trap and trace surveillance;

. a request for stored electronic communications (for example, e-mail messages); or

. a request to wiretap a subscriber's communications.

Requests for assistance by the government are governed by a series of federal surveillance laws. 1 Assistance in criminal investigations 2 is governed by Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 - better known as "Title III" 3 - and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 - known as "ECPA." 4 Assistance in national security investigations 5 is governed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 - better known as "FISA." 6

Although a major purpose of these laws is to regulate how the government conducts electronic surveillance, these laws also impose obligations on private parties, including ISPs. This Guide is intended to provide an overview of the laws as they may apply to ISPs, especially after the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act 7 anti-terrorism law in October of 2001 and the Homeland Security Act 8 in November of 2002. It is not meant to be a substitute for advice from ...
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