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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An intrusion too far – the Communications Bill hits the buffers

Posted on Dec 11 2012 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on An intrusion too far – the Communications Bill hits the buffers
Categories : Government, Privacy, Regulation
Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

Entanet has criticised the draft Communications Bill in this blog and even argued against it to the Joint Committee in the interests of preserving the privacy of our partners’ customers. When the Home Secretary’s argument was reduced to the shrill and desperate levels of “Anybody who is against this bill is putting politics before people’s lives. We would certainly see criminals going free as a result of this”, it was clear this draft Bill was not long for this world in its current form.

Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell gave evidence to the Joint Committee in the same session as we did and sets out the history of its deliberations here:

Our argument against the draft Bill was simple

  • 1. The bill did not say what it would do, nor was there adequate consultation
  • 2. It was not clear what it would cost
  • 3. It was not technically achievable
  • 4. It did not deliver sufficient benefit
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Update: Web monitoring plans – open to abuse

Posted on Nov 02 2012 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Update: Web monitoring plans – open to abuse

EuroISPA’s monthly report for October 2012 contains this update on the Data Retention Directive: “On 23 October, Commissioner Malmström confirmed to the European Parliament that there will be a revision of the data retention directive (DRD) but not this year.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

The Commission maintains that the DRD should be improved and that it is necessary to ensure that Member States cannot access retained data for other purposes than the ones indicated in the DRD. Currently, the e-Privacy Directive enables Member States to require access to data for other purposes.

Therefore the Commission plans to revise the DRD together with the e-Privacy Directive. However, a reform of these Directives will only be possible after the current negotiations on the General Data Protection Regulation are finalized.

Commissioner Malmström could not indicate a concrete timetable yet but is likely that the revision of both Directives could be led by the new Commission in 2014/2015.”

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Communications Bill: The Draft is out of the bag

Posted on Jul 05 2012 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Communications Bill: The Draft is out of the bag
Categories : Government, Privacy, Regulation

Following our recent post ‘Web monitoring plans – open to abuse’, the Draft Communications Bill is now available. Interest in it was such that on the day it was released the Home Office website collapsed under the strain.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

As members of ISPA, Entanet seized the opportunity to hear from a Home Office representative and discover what they had to say about the Bill. Unfortunately, part of the challenge in engaging with Government on this topic is that under the banner of “state security” most questions met with evasive answers.

This lack of clarity is a shame, as this is a Bill more interesting for what it doesn’t say than what it does. The Government’s negotiating stance with its draft is, in essence, to say that they are entitled to ask anyone for anything other than “content” without a warrant. That could include how much you have downloaded, how you pay your ISP or phone company and who you have spoken to. The most we can say on the positive side is that the Bill would repeal part 1 of chapter 2 of the unloved Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (“RIPA”) which regulates how the security services can monitor and access communication over the Internet. Whilst that was generally held to be rushed and poorly drafted legislation, its potential replacement is instead deliberately, and worryingly, open-ended. The tone is set by the opening line “The Secretary of State may by order…”

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Web monitoring plans – open to abuse

Posted on May 16 2012 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Web monitoring plans – open to abuse

The recent Queen’s speech has officially confirmed controversial plans for the Government to expand on the level of monitoring of UK citizens online in a bid to fight terrorism and to keep pace with technical changes such as social networks.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

The new Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) has been brought into force by none other than The Conservatives, who ironically slammed a similar bill raised by Labour called the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). We covered the topic back in 2008, with: ‘Are we living in “1984”?’ and also in July last year with: ‘Big brother returns with a new name’.

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