Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

Posted on Feb 15 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Age verification – Essential protection or slippery censorship slope?

Late last year news started to emerge that several amends had been made to the already highly controversial Digital Economy Bill (DEB) including the requirements around ‘age verification’ on pornography websites.

The original plan was to include a note in the DEB to ensure the current optional ‘Parental Controls’ remained available to all customers following changes in EU legislation regarding net neutrality. However, the remit has expanded somewhat and now the DEB wants to implement a ‘tough age verification system’ on all websites displaying ‘adult content’ with ISPs required to block access to any such websites that are non-compliant.

We discuss whether or not this is necessary to effectively protect children from accessing pornography on the Internet or if it’s a slippery slope towards further censorship?

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Guest Blog: What will 2017 hold for the industry?

Posted on Feb 07 2017 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: What will 2017 hold for the industry?
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

2017 is once again set to be a big year for the industry with significant policy developments on the horizon. In the coming year, the Digital Economy Bill will become law; there will be changes to Ofcom’s General Conditions; and the Investigatory Powers Act will be implemented. There will also be new Government funding for full-fibre broadband and changes to broadband advertising rules – all against a backdrop of Brexit and political instability. In the light of these developments it is incredibly important that the breadth of Internet industry views are heard and that is where we turn to industry bodies such as ISPA, to ensure we have our say. Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General from ISPA informs us of the key areas they are currently involved in and what we should be aware of in 2017.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Bye bye net neutrality, hello state censorship?

Posted on Dec 13 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Bye bye net neutrality, hello state censorship?

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund: welcome but not enough

Posted on Nov 24 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund: welcome but not enough
Categories : Broadband, Fibre, Government, Network

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Goodbye Investigatory Powers Bill, Hello Investigatory Powers ACT

Posted on Nov 17 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Goodbye Investigatory Powers Bill, Hello Investigatory Powers ACT

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Guest Blog: The new Government and Brexit: what does it mean for the Internet industry?

Posted on Jul 27 2016 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: The new Government and Brexit: what does it mean for the Internet industry?
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

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…

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

So, who is Matt Hancock?

Posted on Jul 21 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on So, who is Matt Hancock?
Categories : Government, Ofcom, Regulation

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?

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

An open letter to Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Posted on Jul 12 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on An open letter to Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Categories : Government

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Digital Economy Bill: More empty promises from DCMS

Posted on Jul 07 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Digital Economy Bill: More empty promises from DCMS

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”.
Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Update 2 – Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs?

Posted on Jul 05 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Update 2 – Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs?

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »