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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Is the ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable?

Posted on Jan 19 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Is the ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable?

Following the tragic events in Paris earlier this month, the Government has once again called for enhanced surveillance capabilities for the intelligence services, which would mean further data retention from ISPs and telecoms providers. This is far from the first time this has been suggested, so we ask: Is the controversial ‘Snooper’s charter’ inevitable in one form or another?

What is the ‘Snooper’s Charter’?

The original ‘Snooper’s charter’ or ‘Communications Data Bill’ was drafted by the Home Secretary, Theresa May to increase the amount of data ISPs and telecoms providers record and store and provide greater access to this information for the intelligence services and police to help them combat terrorism and serious crime. Due to concerns over cost, privacy and security of the sheer amount of data involved, the draft Bill was blocked by Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats earlier this year. However, this wasn’t the first attempt by Government to increase the collection of and access to data for the security services. The previous Government had tried to implement the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) which was also opposed by the Lib Dems (and the Conservatives). It wasn’t completely abandoned though and seemed to reappear under the guise of the Communications Capabilities Development Programme.

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Nee Naw Nee Naw – Internet police coming through!

Posted on Nov 11 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Nee Naw Nee Naw – Internet police coming through!
Categories : Privacy, Regulation, Security

Once again the role of technology firms has been called into question in the never ending debate over ‘policing the Internet’. This time its new GCHQ boss, Robert Hannigan, who has suggested the need for a new ‘deal’ between the technology industry and intelligence organisations such as GCHQ.

Hannigan requested the new deal between “democratic governments and technology companies in the area of protecting our citizens”. However, Julian David, CEO of TechUK which represents 860 technology companies has been amongst the first to reject the idea stating: “To ensure public confidence, both in the digital economy and our democracy as a whole, any obligations placed upon technology companies must be based upon a clear and transparent legal framework and effective oversight rather than, as suggested, a deal between the industry and government,”

Hannigan also suggested that technology firms are in ‘denial’ about the use of their services by criminal and terrorist organisations to which David replied:

“He is wrong to suggest that this is an issue that technology companies are in denial about. As we made clear in our recent tech manifesto, technology firms which we represent have important legal obligations to work with government to help keep the UK safe and secure which they take extremely seriously.”

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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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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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Are security concerns over cloud holding your customers back?

Posted on Mar 07 2013 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Are security concerns over cloud holding your customers back?
Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

We’ve spoken many times in the past about the growing cloud market, the opportunity this represents for resellers and the crucial role that connectivity plays in supporting the migration of applications from on-premise to hosted ‘cloud based’ solutions. A recent Microscope survey supports our view and identified that a third of the small business market has yet to take the leap to cloud, representing a sizeable opportunity for the channel if the blockers to adoption can be addressed; and according to the survey a key concern is security.

This is something our partner Outsourcery recently discussed in their opinion guest blog – Adopting cloud computing – what’s holding your customers back?.

Following the Microscope survey Andy Burton, chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, said of the levels of confidence for cloud services as a viable business for the channel: ”On the one hand it shows healthy progression from hype and over-optimism that follows any new market trend toward a more healthy and tempered outlook. But arguably it shows a greater sense of caution than I would have expected at this stage”.

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