Not content with forcing ISPs to store the browsing history of UK citizens (as enshrined into law via the Investigatory Powers Act), the Government now appears to be ignoring the concept of net neutrality with its latest Bill entering the House of Lords. The Digital Economy Bill, due its second reading in the Lords today (13th December 2016), compels websites carrying material which “it is reasonable to assume from its nature that any classification certificate issued in respect of a video work including it would be an R18 certificate” to carry out age verification checks to try and stop youngsters accessing such material. If the sites don’t do this, ISPs will be required to block them. Yet EU net neutrality rules state that all Internet traffic must be treated equally and goes so far as to say that Governments cannot block access to sites that are legal – even if they are distasteful.Read More »
In yesterday’s Autumn Statement the government announced measures that will, in their words, “bring faster and more reliable broadband for homes and businesses across the UK, boost the next generation of mobile connectivity and keep the UK in the forefront of the development of the Internet of Things.” A sweeping glance at the headline text suggests that the investment of £400m into a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) and tax-relief on full fibre infrastructure are a great step forward for the development of Gigabit Britain, but as usual, the devil is in the detail. And it’s the consideration of the detail that has brought us to the opinion that Chancellor Philip Hammond has achieved nothing more than political manoeuvring aimed at satisfying the calls for more investment in the UK’s fibre communications infrastructure.Read More »
This has been a year of unthinkable events, so it should come as no surprise that last night the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) passed the final hurdle in gaining approval by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. All that’s left for it to become law is to gain Royal Assent – i.e. the Queen has to sign it off.
Entanet has campaigned hard against the IPB and its previous incarnations. Given the volume of data breaches already this year, as a responsible ISP we consider the collection of every citizen’s browsing history to be a profoundly bad idea; it is inevitable that, at best, there will be scope creep among government departments. At worst, your life will fall into the wrong hands.Read More »
It has been a busy month since the UK voted to leave the European Union, with a new Prime Minister, a turbulent opposition and a host of new ministers getting to grips with their new portfolios. Amongst all this upheaval ISPA has been working with members to update them on the fast moving developments as well as continuing our core work representing the industry on key policy areas, meeting MPs to discuss rural broadband and the Universal Service Obligation, lobbying on aspects of the Investigatory Powers Bill, plus working on issues as diverse as broadband advertising, age-verification, ISP cyber-security and more.
So with all this in mind, we’ve asked Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General, to set out who the sector needs to know in the new Government, the status of some key pieces of legislation and the impact of Brexit on the sector. Read on…Read More »
We certainly can’t take all the credit, but Ed Vaizey was unceremoniously dumped from his role as Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy last Friday evening. His replacement is the MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock.
Representing West Suffolk since 2010, and serving as George Osborne’s chief of staff before that, Mr Hancock isn’t a complete neophyte when it comes to politics. But what of that subject so close to our hearts? Is he likely to be any better at promoting connectivity issues and engaging with the industry than his predecessor?Read More »
Rt Hon Theresa May,
Congratulations on your forthcoming new role as Prime Minister. We’ve not always seen eye-to-eye (what’s an over-intrusive Investigatory Powers Bill between friends?) but, as you reflect on who will be in your Cabinet, we’d urge you to give due consideration to the future Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy. The incumbent, Ed Vaizey MP, has – in our opinion – not been effective in this position due to a lack of experience (his own website describes him as being more artsy than technical) and failing to engage adequately with the industry on crucial matters.Read More »
The Digital Economy Bill – first outlined by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament – has now been introduced to Parliament and it has made for some fairly interesting reading. However the concerns that we raised back in May haven’t been assuaged.
“Universal” Service Obligation
Let’s take the Universal Service Obligation (USO) for starters. The Bill Overview Factsheet says:
“What are we going to do?
- Empower consumers and provide better connectivity so that everyone has access to broadband wherever they live”.
Yesterday Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Minister for Data Protection, gave a speech at the Privacy Laws & Business 29th International Conference held at St. John’s College in Cambridge outlining the UK Government’s perspective on the EU data protection package.
In essence, she outlined that any country outside of the EU – including the UK – wanting or needing to either share data with EU Member States or handle EU citizens’ data will need to gain an ‘adequacy status’ to do so. This ‘adequacy status’ is essentially an approval from the EU that the applicant country has data protection policies and practices in place that are equal to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to enter into force on the 25th May 2018.Read More »
We’ve made our feelings on the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) abundantly clear – both in terms of the impact on communications providers who will bear the brunt when it comes to Internet Connection Records (ICRs) and our belief that the Bill contravenes the basic human right to privacy.
As the Bill makes its way through the House of Lords we continue to believe that more could be done to engage with and obtain the views of the communications industry, which is why we’re asking what you think. Let us know what concerns you have – if any – by leaving us a comment below or taking part in our poll.Read More »
Shock, awe, disgust, celebration. Whatever your reaction, nobody ever expected that we’d be left with no leadership and no plan of action. With David Cameron’s resignation, George Osborne and Theresa May keeping a very low profile and Boris Johnson off playing cricket, one may be forgiven for thinking our government has gone AWOL in the wake of last week’s Referendum vote. In any case, there is no firm plan and we’re all left scratching our heads as to what Brexit actually means for our country, our personal lives and the industry that we represent.
Since businesses are keeping the country ticking over while the politicians scrabble around to decide who’s in charge and what needs to be done, we thought we’d seize the opportunity to remind Whitehall what needs to be considered so that the connectivity industry can depart from the EU as painlessly as possible.Read More »