Guest Blog: What’s next for communications data law?

Posted on Aug 11 2015 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: What’s next for communications data law?
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Following the recent General Election we’ve seen a number of legal challenges and Government promises regarding the laws and regulations that directly affect our industry, in particular those regarding communications data and surveillance powers. So, what is likely to happen over the next few months and how will we be affected? We invited ISPA’s Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman, to give us his view.

After the General Election, one of the new Government’s first pieces of legislation announced was the Investigatory Powers Bill, set to come before parliament in the autumn and subject to scrutiny by a joint committee. With a proposed new law, recent independent reports and reviews and legal judgements, what is the direction of travel for communications data, and what impact will it have on the communications sector?

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Poll: Should the final 5% broadband coverage be funded by an ISP tax?

Posted on Aug 04 2015 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment

As discussed in our recent article ‘Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?’ we discuss the reported suggestion of an ISP tax to cover the estimated £500 million that will be needed to bring superfast broadband services to the final, hard to reach, 5% of the UK.

What do you think about a potential ISP tax? Do you think it’s necessary and fair in order to reach the final 5%? Or do you think alternative funding methods should be used? Do you think the cost will simply be passed on to consumers through increased prices? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below and taking part in our new poll (on the right of the page).

[cookiecontrol1]


 

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

Posted on Jul 29 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Who will foot the bill for the final 5%?

The superfast broadband rollout so far has been funded in a number of ways: BDUK funding (partly from the BBC License fee pot), match-funding from local authorities and a number of Government-led schemes encouraging industry to tender for contracts to reach the 95% target. The “homes passed” numbers are increasing, but reaching the final 5% was always going to be tricky and expensive.

The Government has estimated that it will cost a further £500million to deliver superfast broadband to the last 5% and, due to the predominantly remote locations and diverse geography, standard fibre broadband is unlikely to be suitable. A number of trials are already under way to evaluate the most suitable technology to do the job (e.g. satellite, wireless). But £500 million is a lot of money to find, so where is it likely to come from?

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

Will it be third time lucky for the ‘Snooper’s Charter’?

Posted on May 13 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Will it be third time lucky for the ‘Snooper’s Charter’?

Following the election of our new Conservative Government last week and Mr Cameron’s re-appointment of Theresa May as Secretary of State, rumours are now rife that one of the first items on her agenda is to reignite the highly controversial ‘Snooper’s Charter’. Will it be third time lucky for Theresa May?

Shortly after the Conservative’s election win was confirmed, May reportedly commented that implementing the Communications Data Bill or ‘Snooper’s Charter’ as it has been nicknamed, is a key priority for her and her party.

Her last attempt to introduce this Bill was blocked by the Liberal Democrat part of the coalition Government who had concerns over its impact on privacy and freedom of expression. Interestingly, in their own pre-election manifesto they had planned to introduce a significantly different new ‘Digital Bill of Rights’.

May said: “David Cameron has already said, and I’ve said, that a Conservative government would be giving the security agencies and law enforcement agencies the powers that they need to ensure they’re keeping up to date as people communicate with communications data.

We were prevented from bringing in that legislation into the last government because of the coalition with the Liberal Democrats and we are determined to bring that through, because we believe that is necessary to maintain the capabilities for our law enforcement agencies such that they can continue to do the excellent job, day in and day out, of keeping us safe and secure.”

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

UK Government admits to “suspicionless hacking”

Posted on Mar 25 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on UK Government admits to “suspicionless hacking”
Categories : Government, Privacy

We were alarmed by the news that broke late last week that the British Government has admitted its intelligence services have the power to and historically have hacked into the personal equipment (phones, computers, networks) of anyone anywhere in the world, even where the ‘target’ is not a threat to national security or suspected of a crime. This has raised obvious concerns amongst privacy advocates and indeed the general public regarding the immense scope of the surveillance powers these organisations have.

This information was discovered within a Government court document published by Privacy International and the admissions were made in response to two court cases filed against GCHQ last year following the Edward Snowden revelations.

A press release from Privacy International states:

“Buried deep within the document, Government lawyers claim that while the intelligence services require authorisation to hack into the computer and mobile phones of “intelligence targets”, GCHQ is equally permitted to break into computers anywhere in the world even if they are not connected to a crime or a threat to national security.”

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

The UK Budget 2015: What’s in the bag for the channel?

Posted on Mar 19 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The UK Budget 2015: What’s in the bag for the channel?

It’s that time of year again – Budget time and as this one comes before a General Election it’s unsurprisingly packed full of promises and big ideas.

Here’s a quick summary on what it has in store for our channel:

1. Ultra-fast broadband

First they promised (and delivered) superfast broadband (mainly achieved using Openreach’s fibre broadband roll-out) and now it’s all about a new ‘ambition’ to provide ‘nearly all UK premises’ with at least 100Mbps ‘ultrafast’ broadband.

From what we can tell they haven’t quantified that statement as yet but to be fair, most of the hard work to achieve this has already been done or has been committed to by the industry. For example, Virgin Media recently announced expanding their network to reach 17 million premises by 2020 (60% coverage) and BT have recently been discussing G.fast which would also help to achieve this target.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

The even Greater Firewall of China!

Posted on Feb 06 2015 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment

It’s no secret that China imposes wide reaching Internet censorship on its citizens – nicknamed the Great Firewall of China, but this Firewall just got greater as the Chinese Government strengthened its blocks against VPNs (and other means of circumvention) last week.

For years, Chinese citizens have been subject to the Government’s Internet censorship which blocks access to many Western sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google as well as email clients such as Gmail and is known to restrict access to information that is ‘critical’ of the Chinese Government. Their argument is they are trying to ‘enhance development’ of their own Internet services within the country and give Chinese based tech firms an advantage over foreign competition. Critics argue though that their actions actually hamper innovation and serve only to control and restrict the information their citizens have access to.

Until now many citizens used VPNs to circumvent the filters and gain access to the ‘forbidden’ sites but last week it was reported that China has increased its Firewall capabilities and is specifically targeting VPNs and other circumvention methods to enforce its restrictions. It is also increasing the ‘requirements’ it makes on foreign companies wanting to do business within China.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »

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.

Share this article:
Share
Read More »