Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NCC to propose amendment to help investigations

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it would recommend an amendment to the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法), rather than the Telecommunications Act (電信法), to allow authorities to access the domain name system (DNS) logs of service providers to facilitate investigations or prevent crimes.

The DNS translates domain names to the numerical Internet protocol addresses needed for locating and identifying computer services and devices.

The DNS log is a database that records users’ Web activities on the DNS servers, including the Web sites they have accessed.

The commission discussed the issue at its weekly commissioners’ meeting because police and criminal investigation officers have expressed the need to look into the logs to help them investigate and prevent crimes, NCC spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

They requested that the NCC determine if there is a legal basis to ask telecoms to provide or preserve the logs, Weng said.

The “communication records” defined in the Telecommunications Act do not include IP addresses and whether the definition should be expanded to include the logs would need further deliberation, Weng said.

Article 2 of the act states that the communication records includes calls, numbers and communication dates and times.

Preserving the logs is not part of the telecom service, Weng said, adding that the commission said that it would have to meet with Ministry of Justice officials and other officials to discuss the issue.

“We take this matter seriously, as it involves the protection of personal information and privacy. There has to be clear legal authorization before access to the DNS logs can be given,” Weng said.

Authorities want access to the logs to investigate suspects accused of committing criminal activities over the Internet, said Su Yung-chi (蘇勇吉), a section chief at the commission’s network infrastructure department.

“They thought providing the logs would be part of a telecom carrier’s services, but carriers do not necessarily keep the logs, they only want to know when subscribers log on and off the Internet, not what sites they access,” Su said.

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