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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VoIP Fraud – Are you at risk?

Posted on Sep 26 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on VoIP Fraud – Are you at risk?
Categories : Featured, Security, VoIP

It’s no secret that VoIP fraud is a growing problem within the industry. It’s estimated that telecoms fraud can cost operators $40billion a year worldwide and IP based services contribute a significant proportion to that total. But as a VoIP reseller how can you protect yourselves and your customers from VoIP fraud?

Jon Farmer, Voice Technical Lead

Jon Farmer, Voice Technical Lead

In a recent interview with Comms Dealer magazine (August 2012 issue), FCS General Manager, Michael Eagle highlighted this issue and calls for every stage of the supply chain to become more vigilant against fraud. He states “The FCS view is that each member of the supply chain has responsibilities and an important part to play in preventing and dealing with fraud. Accordingly, FCS wants to establish clarity of responsibility and best practice at each level to prevent, restrict or mitigate the losses which would otherwise be suffered by innocent parties.”

Mr Eagle goes onto suggest that wholesalers have an obligation to set up “effective systems in line with agreed industry standards to detect, report and automatically block any unusual call activity as soon as it occurs”. Similarly he argues resellers need to be fully informed and able to react to intelligence as soon as it’s available and end user customers have a responsibility to ensure security and prevent hacking, cooperating with their providers effectively.

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Poll: Should the demise of ACS:Law affect the DEA?

Posted on Feb 17 2011 by Claire Dutton-Merrills | 1 Comment

In a recent article published by Thinkbroadband.com, they state that Judge Birss, has raised questions over the reliability of the DEA using IP addresses to identify copyright owners. The judge, who is well known for the case against ACS:Law and MediaCAT, declared that using IP addresses would only identify a wireless home broadband router and questioned whether leaving a wireless network unsecured, equated to authorising it to be used for file sharing.

We think the demise of ACS:Law shows that judgements based on IP addresses are unreliable and open to abuse. Should this therefore force the government to rethink the DEA, which could potentially open the UK up to more ACS:Law type activities in the future.

We would like to know what you think about Judge Birss’ concerns. Therefore, we have added a new poll asking for your feedback. Please also feel free to leave us a comment below.

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Google flees Great Firewall of China

Posted on Apr 06 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Google flees Great Firewall of China

Back in December 2009 Google and a number of other high profile companies were the target of several cyber attacks which were allegedly traced back to the Chinese government. In Google’s case the hackers appeared to be after the Gmail account details of a number of human rights advocates. We started to cover this story in January when Google announced that it was considering withdrawing its Google.cn operations following the attacks.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

On its company blog, Google stated “We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

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