In a speech before the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Tuesday, Mueller praised law enforcement officials for adopting a resolution that would require ISPs to retain information in case it is needed for investigations.
"As we all recognize, cyber crime is a growing threat," he said. "Today, terrorists coordinate their plans cloaked in the anonymity of the Internet, as do violent sexual predators prowling chat rooms."
Mueller said one out of three computer users has experienced some type of "negative incident."
"All too often, we find that before we can catch these offenders, Internet service providers have unwittingly deleted the very records that would help us identify these offenders and protect future victims," he said. "We must find a balance between the legitimate need for privacy and law enforcement's clear need for access. Your resolution on records retention passed this morning will help put us on the right path. "
The association voted on the resolution, but did not release details to the public.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is lobbying for similar federal legislation that would require ISPs to retain information. Like several members of Congress, Mueller highlighted child pornography as a compelling reason to retain data. He also pointed to terrorist activity on the Internet as well as hackers' attacks on government sites.
"Just as technology can be a tool for criminals, it is also aiding our efforts to protect communities from crime and terrorism," Mueller said. "Through technology, we are building stronger connections within the law enforcement community."