Is our ‘right to be forgotten’ the first step towards censorship?

Posted on Jul 30 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Is our ‘right to be forgotten’ the first step towards censorship?
Categories : Government, Privacy, Regulation

Following an ECJ ruling back in May, as EU citizens we now have a ‘right to be forgotten’ which means we have the right to request the removal of links to any irrelevant, outdated, excessive or inaccurate information about us from search engines and other non-media websites.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

This obviously has huge implications for the search engine giants. Google, who recently discussed their response to this ruling with EU regulators, has reportedly received 91,000 requests covering a total of 328,000 links and has already approved more than 50% of the removals.

The ruling has caused a huge amount of controversy. Not only are people debating the impact of ‘censoring’ the Internet (which we will come back to shortly) but the EU is reportedly unhappy with the fact that Google currently notifies the owners of the affected websites when a link is removed. In a small number of cases this has actually awoken the original reporters who then revisited the story, which quite clearly completely defeats the point of the ruling.

So, if you have something you want taken down, do you take the chance of reporting the links and potentially having the story shared all over the news again or do you ignore it and hope no one notices?

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The emergency data bill – trampling on the rights of citizens

Posted on Jul 11 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The emergency data bill – trampling on the rights of citizens
Categories : Government, Privacy, Regulation

The government has secured the backing of all three main parties to rush through an emergency data bill named the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (DRIP) before Parliament recedes for the summer to ensure police and security services can continue to access records on phone calls, text messages and Internet usage from ISPs.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

The new bill follows the European Court of Justice ruling that the EU’s Data Retention Directive (DRD) was invalid because it failed to put adequate safeguards in place. Despite the government knowing this since April, it has only now been deemed an ‘emergency’ to take the steps it says it needs to.

Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “I am simply not prepared to be a prime minister who has to address the people after a terrorist incident and explain that I could have done more to prevent it.”

“This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe”

Really? Does Mr Cameron truly think that by saying “terrorist” and “paedophiles” that the public are going to buy into the legislation when the ECJ deemed the EU’s DRD invalid?

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Poll: Does the UK need to re-evaluate its own data retention laws and should ISPs still be expected to retain and provide data to GCHQ etc?

Posted on Jul 08 2014 by Claire Dutton-Merrills | Comments Off on Poll: Does the UK need to re-evaluate its own data retention laws and should ISPs still be expected to retain and provide data to GCHQ etc?
Categories : Polls, Privacy, Regulation

Back in May we discussed the ECJ’s ruling that current EU laws regarding the retention of data were invalid and its potential effect on the UK. As pressure mounts from a number of privacy advocates including ORG, who are running an e-petition to stop ISPs retaining data, The Guardian reports that ministers are getting ready to pass emergency laws. The government will need cross party support to successfully get the new laws through quickly. According to this report government appears to have secured this but the Lib Dems are insisting the new laws will reinstate the existing powers and will not introduce the controversial ‘snoopers charter.

“The government does have to respond to the European court of justice ruling, which we are currently examining, and will respond in due course. But that is about the retention of existing powers rather than their extension.”

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The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Posted on Jul 02 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for……the second part of our A-Z, or should that be K-Z of industry issues!

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

K – Kids and protecting them online

How do we effectively protect our children online? Where does parental responsibility end and parental controls begin? It’s a fine balancing act and an important one. Whilst we commend the largest consumer focused ISPs for providing free parental controls to help guard against unsuitable material for minors, it’s not the end of the story. This needs to be backed up with education and parental responsibility. This site contains some useful advice: http://www.saferinternet.org/safer-internet-day.

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Is it the end of the road for data retention?

Posted on May 06 2014 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Is it the end of the road for data retention?
Categories : Government, Privacy, Regulation

Data retention has been a highly controversial topic for many years. Whilst many understand its necessity, there’s been debate and concern raised about the manner in which it is collated, stored and accessed as well as the Government’s ongoing plans (under various guises) to increase and change the level of information retained.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations[/caption]Therefore the ECJ’s recent ruling that the current EU Data Retention Directive is ‘invalid’ has reignited the debate and now has us all wondering what will happen to our own laws on this subject. Is it the end of the road for data retention?

We think it’s highly unlikely. While this ruling will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the UK’s legal standing and potentially affect the Government’s seemingly ongoing plans to increase and change the information required, the importance of such information in tackling criminal activity and potential security threats means we very much doubt this is the end of data retention. It just wouldn’t be practical.

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Who’s really responsible Mr Cameron?

Posted on Aug 01 2013 by Neil Watson | 4 Comments

Last week, David Cameron made a passionate speech about managing pornography on the Internet in terms of protecting children from exposure to it in any form and of stamping out access to both child pornography and depictions of sexual violence.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Having accused search engine operators of effectively ‘aiding and abetting’ individuals’ search activity for child pornography and sexual violence imagery and not doing enough to block it, the PM said that all ISPs will be required to set up content filters that are set to ‘on’ by default to prevent children’s access to pornography in the home. Cameron made it clear that smaller ISP’s will not be exempt from this demand. Furthermore, he added that this requirement applied to existing customers as well as new ones. He said: “By the end of next year, they [all ISPs] will have contacted all of their existing customers and presented them with an unavoidable decision about whether or not to install family friendly content filters.”

We applaud his passion for trying to maintain the innocence of children and stamp out the promotion of sexual violence but question the placement of responsibility. Cameron said that he is “not prescribing how the ISPs should contact their customers – it’s up to them to find their own technological solutions. But however they do it, there will be no escaping this decision.”

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Time for the DEA to get its Act together

Posted on Jun 06 2013 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Time for the DEA to get its Act together

Things have been quiet on the Digital Economy Act (DEA) front for a long time now. Our last update (Opinion: Is the DEA old before its time?) indicated that the three strikes warning letters would not ‘go live’ until early 2014, a whole 4 years after the Act was passed. Now it would seem more delays could be afoot.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The DEA was rushed through parliament at the end of Labour’s reign of power, receiving little discussion before becoming an Act – much to the dismay of ISPs and other parties across the country. It outlined a 12 month monitoring period of infringers, who would subsequently receive three warning letters before being ‘cut-off’.

Three years on from the Act being passed and it would appear the three strikes policy is no closer to being implemented, with a finger in the air guess being 2016 at the earliest. A never ending barrage of disputes over its practicalities and the sharing of costs between Rights Holders and ISPs has been its main delay.

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Update: ICO is right to demand detail on the ‘Big Brother intrusive filter’

Posted on Apr 25 2013 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Update: ICO is right to demand detail on the ‘Big Brother intrusive filter’

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager


No sooner had we published our article about the ICO demands this morning: (ICO is right to demand detail on the ‘Big Brother intrusive filter’) an update emerged that Nick Clegg appears to have put the kybosh on the ‘snooper’s charter’. Whilst the media has a field day amid the political undermining, it remains to be seen if the Bill appears in the Queen’s speech on 8 May. We will be watching with interest.

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ICO is right to demand detail on the ‘Big Brother intrusive filter’

Posted on Apr 25 2013 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on ICO is right to demand detail on the ‘Big Brother intrusive filter’
Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) –the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, has demanded that the Home Office provide answers by 11th May 2013 explaining what the “Request filter” system submerged in the controversial Communications Data Bill actually does.

Recap: What the snooping bill entails

When the draft Communications Data Bill was first proposed by the Home Office on 14th June 2012, they described the bill as a ’vital tool’ to help police and snoopers’ catch paedophiles, terrorists and other serious criminals. Privacy International, the registered charity that aims to defend privacy rights across the globe, reports that it has been part of the Home Office’s on-going quest to gain new communications surveillance powers since 2006.

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Looking back over 2012

Posted on Dec 13 2012 by Elsa Chen | Comments Off on Looking back over 2012

Well 2012 was certainly a great year for the Brits. The eyes of the world were watching as we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and played host to a magnificent celebration of sporting talent with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, where we actually did pretty well. But, moving back to business, what happened in 2012 that affected the IT industry? Here is a little reminder of this year’s key events, debates and market trends.

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Superfast broadband

This seems to have filled the industry news on a weekly basis this year. If it’s not the Government’s targets and deadlines or latest plans to provide super connected cities and obtain more EU funding, its progress updates on the various BDUK projects that are going on across the country. Whilst most of us are pleased with the development of superfast broadband in the UK there has still been a lot of debate around the details.

Firstly, the Government’s announcement of further funding to support ‘super connected cities’ caused concern that they were focussing too much on urban areas and not attempting to solve the digital divide that already exists. Whilst we applaud their efforts to roll out superfast broadband (in this case up to 100Mbps) we agree with many of the critics that more focus needs to be placed on areas currently struggling on sub 2Mbps speeds. A large number of businesses within these city locations are already taking advantage of high end connectivity through services such as Ethernet.

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