Posted on May 02 2018 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Where does the latest High Court judgement leave the IPA?
With the recent High Court ruling that a key pillar of the government’s Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) – often referred to as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ – is unlawful and must be amended within six months, we ask what lies ahead now for this controversial piece of legislation?
The judgement says that Part 4 of the IPA, which outlines the need for ISPs to retain their customers communications data including email activity, phone use and Internet browsing history, was incompatible with EU law. This is something that regular readers of our blog will know we’ve been saying for some time!
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Posted on Aug 24 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Is a compensation compromise possible?
Back in March, Ofcom announced plans to introduce a new automatic broadband compensation system which would award customers set amounts of compensation where they experience delayed repair following loss of service, delays with start of new service or missed engineer appointments. We originally stated that the proposed claim amounts were disproportionately high when you consider most residential broadband services cost around £20 a month and Ofcom were proposing claims of £10 per day for an outage.
Since then the proposals have entered a consultation period and this week the Citizens Advice bureau has slammed ISPs for their counter proposal of slightly reduced claim amounts, calculating that customers could be ‘short changed’ by up to 32% when compared to Ofcom’s original proposal.
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Posted on Aug 09 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on New Data Protection Bill & IPA – A match made in hell
Last week the Government announced a new Data Protection Bill which will replace the existing Data Protection Act 1988 by aiming to strengthen UK citizens control over their own personal data and align our laws with the EU’s new GDPR legislation which will come into effect from May 2018. Excellent- what a good idea! There’s just one problem though – that annoying Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) which already exists and contradicts this almost entirely!
Commenting on the new Bill, Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital said: “The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”
We don’t disagree with Mr Hancock. The Government’s press release quotes research showing more than 80% of people feel they don’t have complete control over their data online and the new Bill will aim to improve this by introducing a ‘right to be forgotten’ meaning they can request their personal data be erased (including from social media sites). It will also eradicate the use of the current default opt-out and pre-selected check boxes for consent in the collection of personal data – both requirements already included in the forthcoming GDPR.
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Posted on Aug 02 2017 by Dan Saxon | Comments Off on Apprentice View: Ofcom red-faced by dark fibre ruling
Dan Saxon Customer Service Apprentice
All of our Apprentices get the opportunity to experience a variety of roles within Entanet as part of our training and development programme. We’ve recently welcomed Dan Saxon, a Customer Service Apprentice, for work experience within our marketing team. Dan chose to write about the recent ruling on Openreach’s Dark Fibre Access. Read on for his view.
The Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) ruled last week on Openreach’s appeal against opening its dark fibre assets to competitors which, if you recall, was one of the outcomes of Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review last year. Ofcom took a close look at the leased lines market out of concern for a lack of competition, which it said had been brought about by Openreach making it operationally difficult and economically unsound for competitors to make use of existing dark fibre. Had the ruling not been appealed, Openreach would have been forced to provide access to dark fibre by October this year. Instead, the determination by CAT that “Ofcom made a string of errors when it drew up the rules for a new market in dark fibre” effectively extinguishes any chance of that happening. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Openreach has been reticent to open up its dark fibre purely on commercial grounds for some time, giving alternative infrastructure providers the opportunity to increase their presence and reputation for being everything that Openreach is not. There’s a good chance then that this decision will work in the favour of these alt-nets once again.
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Posted on Jul 18 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on 5 Common misconceptions about GDPR
No matter what industry you work in, GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation) should be top of mind right now. It’s certainly big news for business facing journos at the moment. Yet despite the constant coverage there still seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding GDPR – this article aims to put common misconceptions straight and help you protect your business from potentially hefty fines.
Misconception #1 – It only affects companies based in the EU
Although GDPR is an EU law, it doesn’t just affect EU based companies. It affects any company that stores and uses information relating to any EU citizen regardless of where the company is based. It’s the first global data protection law.
Therefore, if your customer is based in an EU country or you hold any personal data (the definition of which has been expanded – see our free eBook for more info) of any EU citizen it will affect you and your business. The fact that the UK is in the process of leaving the EU also has no impact on our need to comply with this law.
The only way you don’t need to comply is if you can 100% prove that you do not hold or use any information about any citizens of any EU country.
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Posted on Jul 12 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on 12th July – Day of action for US net neutrality
Today, Wednesday 12th July, will see a ‘day of action’ across the Internet as several major US companies join a co-ordinated protest against proposed changes to US net neutrality laws.
To recap, net neutrality is the principle of treating all traffic over the Internet equally- so no service is favoured against another because they have paid the ISP delivering the service more money, for example. Under Obama’s Government the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) implemented legislation that protects that principle and forces providers to treat all traffic fairly. However, the new Trump led Government is looking to overturn that and give providers more power to decide how traffic is treated and potentially generate additional revenues through paid prioritisation, potentially blocking or slowing down access to other sites.
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Posted on Jul 07 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on ISPs: Still a ‘Mere Conduit’ or now the Data Police?
Regular readers will know that, as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), our preference is to be – as The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 call it – a ‘mere conduit’ whose role is to move bits of data, rather than being a policeman of them. An unlikely ally for this view is the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, which includes provisions for all of us to actively minimise the amount of personal data we hold, hence reducing the risk of data loss.
The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 would have ISPs do the precise opposite however, and retain data about users. Pressure group Liberty were recently granted leave to challenge this controversial legislation in the High Court.
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Posted on Jun 26 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Encryption row continues as EU plans a back-door ban
In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks there has been much discussion amongst various European politicians over the role of end-to-end encryption in services like Whatsapp. Our own Prime Minister Theresa May in particular, has called for end-to-end encryption in these services to be removed and backdoor access granted to security agencies and police to monitor the so called ‘safe places’ where terrorists allegedly hide. However, the Internet industry and various security experts have warned that creating backdoor access and storing the data collated would significantly weaken existing encryption and create a serious security concern as it could easily be abused by fraudsters and hackers, leaving innocent users of such services at risk.
In response to the ongoing discussion, the EU’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs has now stepped in and announced plans to protect end-to-end encryption across such services by banning proposed backdoor access and promoting the use of end-to-end encryption wherever possible.
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Posted on Jun 07 2017 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: Can ‘tech companies’ do more to eradicate ‘safe places’ online?
Jim Killock, Executive Director, ORG
In the wake of the atrocious terror attacks that have targeted Manchester and London and affected the whole of the UK in recent weeks, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has made various statements about the role she thinks ‘tech companies’ must play in tackling terrorism. Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group has kindly provided us with a guest blog discussing the PM’s recent comments and his concerns over the Government’s plans regarding encryption, censorship and their requirements on tech companies.
“In the wake of the terrorist attacks at London Bridge, Theresa May has called for Internet companies to do more so that there are ‘no safe spaces’ for terrorists online.
We must remember that these attacks were not just brutal assaults on individuals but an attempt to undermine the freedom and liberty we enjoy in this country. While some politicians may instinctively search for ‘anything’ that can be done to prevent future attacks, our response must uphold our values and democratic way of life. A free and open Internet has transformed how we live, communicate and share information – and we should protect that just as we should protect the democratic processes that the terrorists want to disrupt.
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Posted on May 31 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on It’s USOs all round in the party election manifestos
It’s election time again, and regardless of your personal political preferences, we thought a brief summary of what each of the major parties has to say about all things Internet related could be useful for our readers.
While we’re not endorsing any particular party in this article and are only reporting the details of each party’s published manifestos with regards to our industry, we found all the pledges to be somewhat underwhelming. Unsurprisingly to most, as this is them essentially ‘selling themselves’ to the public they’ve clearly scooted over any details around funding or implementation and instead focused on headline-grabbing claims and pledges. Although, they too leave us somewhat flat.
Superfast broadband rollout pledges
A positive to take from this year’s campaign trail is that it’s good to see all three major political parties promising to ensure superfast broadband delivery to the whole of the UK in one form or another.
In summary, Labour has promised 30Mbps minimum by 2022 with hints of 300Mbps within 10 years, the Lib Dems made a similar promise of 30Mbps by 2022 but added a 6Mbps upload and unlimited usage cap with further 2Gbps fibre pledge and the Conservatives are already in the process of introducing their 10Mbps USO and completing their superfast broadband rollout.
However, it’s not anything new and exciting, is it? It’s all been discussed before. The Government recently threw out suggested amendments from the House of Lords to increase the current 10Mbps USO to 30Mbps due to funding and implementation concerns so how exactly do Labour and the Lib Dems plan to overcome these issues? Your guess is as good as ours! As for the Conservative manifesto, as we would expect with the existing Government, it’s just a confirmation of their existing strategies and plans – nothing particularly new there either.
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