New Data Protection Bill & IPA – A match made in hell

Posted on Aug 09 2017 | 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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Apprentice View: Ofcom red-faced by dark fibre ruling

Posted on Aug 02 2017 | Comments Off on Apprentice View: Ofcom red-faced by dark fibre ruling

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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5 Common misconceptions about GDPR

Posted on Jul 18 2017 | 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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12th July – Day of action for US net neutrality

Posted on Jul 12 2017 | 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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ISPs: Still a ‘Mere Conduit’ or now the Data Police?

Posted on Jul 07 2017 | 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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Apprentice View: Your privacy is about to become a lot less private

Posted on Jul 03 2017 | Comments Off on Apprentice View: Your privacy is about to become a lot less private

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 Ellis Mason, a Technical Support Apprentice, for work experience within our marketing team. During his time with us, he had the opportunity to research and write a blog post which he enjoyed enormously and we’re pleased to share.

We’re at risk of losing our privacy. This is a key topic of discussion for the tech industry at the moment – and should be yours too if you think your private conversations should stay private. With recent events such as the terror attacks in London and Manchester, this topic has become more heated and more controversial. Our Government is wanting a ‘free pass’ through encrypted communications, in order to provide higher levels of safety to the public. However, this may put everyone at risk from more threats – such as the risk of personal information and bank details being stolen, which would increase the risk of fraud dramatically.

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Encryption row continues as EU plans a back-door ban

Posted on Jun 26 2017 | 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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A fond farewell to ISDN

Posted on Jun 21 2017 | Comments Off on A fond farewell to ISDN

When it comes to technology, the pace of change is quickening. Ten years ago we didn’t know what an iPhone was (at least not for another month anyway) but now it seems that every week we’re seeing an innovative new means of communication being introduced. This continuous push for newer, faster, better connectivity is inevitably leaving older technologies to shrivel in its wake and we channel participants get to witness the gradual decay. In the spotlight at the moment is ISDN, the digital lines with multiple channels that allow more than one method of communication to take place simultaneously. Born in 1989, at a time before Internet access was publically available in the UK, it used to be the pinnacle of business connectivity – akin to the leased lines of today – but is now slated for the chopping block by BT Chief, Gavin Patterson. BT intends to stop selling ISDN by 2020 and shut it down completely by 2025 – meaning that the millions of businesses in the UK running their telephony over ISDN will soon need to find an alternative means to keep talking. (If you’re interested in the stats, Ofcom’s Market Data Update says that there were a total of 33.5 million UK PSTN lines and ISDN channels at the end of 2016, representing a year-on-year decrease of 211k (0.6%) and a decline of 74k (0.2%) compared to the previous quarter.)

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Meet the author – Paul North

Posted on Jun 13 2017 | Comments Off on Meet the author – Paul North
Paul North

Paul North, Sales Manager

Our new Sales Manager, Paul North, is our next author to meet. Despite being relatively new to his current role and our Opinion blog, he is an Entanet veteran with over 10 years service across our technical support, provisioning and sales teams.

How long have you worked at Entanet?
I started at Entanet as a technical support agent in 2006 aged just 18. After a year or so in support I was seconded to Ethernet provisioning for a while before joining the sales team in October 2007. I became a solutions consultant in March 2010 and then Sales manager in July 2016, so I’ve gained a lot of industry (and company) knowledge and experience over the last 10 years.

What are your key responsibilities within the business and what are your areas of expertise?
I am currently responsible for our entire Ethernet and Wholesale DSL number. I manage our team of Sales Consultants and I assist them with customer meetings, conference calls and individual deals. I create promotions & strategies for the team and I also manage the commercial relationships with our key suppliers such as BT Wholesale, TalkTalk, Virgin & Vodafone.

My main product areas of expertise are layer 2 xDSL, Ethernet & MPLS.

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Guest Blog: Can ‘tech companies’ do more to eradicate ‘safe places’ online?

Posted on Jun 07 2017 | Comments Off on Guest Blog: Can ‘tech companies’ do more to eradicate ‘safe places’ online?
Jim Killock, Executive Director, ORG

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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