Security concerns raised over national mobile roaming proposal

Security concerns have been raised by Home Secretary Theresa May regarding possible government action to implement ‘national roaming' for mobile phones within the UK, intended to fill in ‘black holes' in national mobile phone network coverage, following Culture Secretary Sajid Javid's consultation process on proposed legislative action in the wake of failure to secure voluntary agreement from the big four mobile providers - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

In a leaked letter published in the Times , May asked for extra work to be done to make sure the changes do not stop police accessing "information that is crucial to keeping us safe". While the precise concerns have not been articulated by May, national roaming could make it more difficult for law enforcement and intelligence services to track suspects' movements. 

Javid responded: “When it comes to law enforcement, this Government...would never do anything that would put that into jeopardy."

The consultation process, ends on November 26, but  Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK issued a public comment emailed to SCMagazineUK.com, saying that: “A three-week consultation process is too short to fully consider all the options and implications  of such an important issue with such long term consequence.” He adds: “Implementing national roaming, which is one of the four options being considered, would be a very big step. The incentives for infrastructure deployment are very finely balanced and care must be taken to ensure that a switch to national roaming does not lead to unintended consequences.”