Has the High Court put a dampener on future snooping plans?

Posted on Jul 22 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Has the High Court put a dampener on future snooping plans?

The highly controversial DRIPA (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act) was dealt a further blow last week when the High Court ruled that parts of the current law were unlawful and inconsistent with European Union law.

DRIPA is a temporary law which was brought in to replace the ‘invalid’ RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) following last year’s European Court of Justice rulings but it seems this replacement law has also fallen foul of the courts when queried by Tom Watson MP, David Davis MP and civil rights group Liberty, who worked together to bring the case to court.

Whilst DRIPA is due to be replaced by an allegedly tougher law by the end of 2016, the High Court has ruled that it needs significantly adjusting before that date. By March 2016 the law must be amended to require independent approval to access communications data.

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Election 2015: How will it affect our industry?

Posted on Apr 21 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Election 2015: How will it affect our industry?

It’s election time again and the party manifestos are already starting to emerge. This led us to wonder what impact each of the main parties’ pre-election promises could have on our industry if they’re elected, specifically in terms of broadband coverage, eradicating the not-spots and the ongoing surveillance vs privacy debate. We are politically neutral and are simply describing the information provided by each of the major parties so far. It is for you to judge which you think is the best.

In alphabetical order, here’s the full detail:

Conservatives

The Conservative manifesto is probably the most obvious as they clearly plan to continue with the objectives they have already started. They will continue with their existing plans to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 using the BDUK system and support providers’ deployment of ‘ultrafast’ broadband as they stated in the recent Budget.

David Cameron stated: “We will deliver the next generation of UK infrastructure: more roads and broadband, High Speed 2 and rail improvements across the nation.

You asked that while we got Britain back living within her means, we should invest in the things that really matter… science, superfast broadband, our railways and roads. 40,000 homes and business connected to superfast broadband every week.”

They will also explore the options of near universal superfast broadband coverage across the UK by 2018, offer Connection Vouchers (worth up to £3,000) to 50 cities and surrounding areas in order to help businesses install superfast broadband and review the potential for adjusting the current Universal Service Obligation to include a 5Mbps broadband speed requirement.

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UPDATED: Is the ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable?

Posted on Jan 23 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on UPDATED: Is the ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable?

On Monday we published an article in response to the Government’s latest cries for increased surveillance powers and data retention and asked if the highly controversial ‘Snooper’s charter’ was inevitable. It appears three of the Lords (Lord Blair, Lord Carlisle and Lord King) believe it should be, as they have attempted to push through 18 pages worth of ‘amendments’ to the existing CTSB (Counter Terrorism and Security Bill) in yet another last minute and underhand move. If successful, this move would see the CTSB echo the previously rejected Snooper’s charter (aka Communications Data Bill).

The most worrying aspect of this latest development is that by passing these ‘amendments’ through at this stage of the parliamentary process they could enter into law without the proper parliamentary scrutiny and industry input that we’d all hoped for and is reasonable to expect. In fact, most of the amendments are reportedly key aspects that were rejected in the original ‘Snooper’s charter’ – so they are literally trying to resurrect it!

We expected additional powers to be introduced at some point but we are very disappointed that once again measures previously disputed are being ‘sneaked in’ without proper consideration and consultation. After the shambles of the DEA (also passed through in a pre-election back-door process), we’d hoped lessons had been learned. It seems we were wrong.

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Is the ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable?

Posted on Jan 19 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Is the ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable?

Following the tragic events in Paris earlier this month, the Government has once again called for enhanced surveillance capabilities for the intelligence services, which would mean further data retention from ISPs and telecoms providers. This is far from the first time this has been suggested, so we ask: Is the controversial ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable in one form or another?

What is the ‘Snooper’s Charter’?

The original ‘Snooper’s charter’ or ‘Communications Data Bill’ was drafted by the Home Secretary, Theresa May to increase the amount of data ISPs and telecoms providers record and store and provide greater access to this information for the intelligence services and police to help them combat terrorism and serious crime. Due to concerns over cost, privacy and security of the sheer amount of data involved, the draft Bill was blocked by Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats earlier this year. However, this wasn’t the first attempt by Government to increase the collection of and access to data for the security services. The previous Government had tried to implement the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) which was also opposed by the Lib Dems (and the Conservatives). It wasn’t completely abandoned though and seemed to reappear under the guise of the Communications Capabilities Development Programme.

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2014 – The Best Bits of Opinion

Posted on Dec 17 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2014 – The Best Bits of Opinion
Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

As avid readers of our Opinion blog we’re sure you’re already aware of the major issues that have plagued the industry over the last 12 months, but just in case you missed any our latest eBook gives you a quick recap of the best, and most important, bits.

It covers the ongoing data retention debacle, the increasing pressure on ISPs regarding security, the legal protection for net neutrality, the unexpected ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling, the never ending fight against piracy and the expected role of ISPs, ISPAs plans to improve the ADR system and a look at the key trends of 2014!

You can download it for free

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The new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill – Will the UK Government ever listen to industry?

Posted on Nov 26 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill – Will the UK Government ever listen to industry?

Here we go again! Another classic example of rushed-through legislation without sufficient industry input or parliamentary scrutiny (or even technical understanding), in reaction to a high profile (and in this case highly emotive) issue in the run up to an election. Is this ringing any bells? No it’s not the DEA this time, it’s the brand new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB) which has been published today.

Following yesterday’s published review into the tragic death of Fusilier Lee Rigby, which found that his death could not have been prevented by MI5 and instead criticised the ‘ISP’ (which in actual fact wasn’t an ISP but the social media platform Facebook!) for not monitoring its customers’ communications and reporting potential threats to the authorities, the Government has today published a new Bill which is set to target the increasing terrorism threat to the UK.

Unfortunately, once again Parliament has failed to grasp the technical aspects of this issue. Not only have they confused Facebook (and Google) with ‘ISPs’, they seem to think that this new Bill will enable ISPs to ‘snoop’ on their customers’ social media posts – which isn’t the case. Facebook in particular encrypts all information, which means no UK ISP will be able to access this information, regardless of the new laws! The additional fact that Facebook is a US-based company adds to the un-likelihood that they will comply with any ‘requests’ from the UK to change these practices.

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