ISP communications database comes under heavy criticism on eve of launch

News by Dan Raywood

A new government law will come into play from the 15th March that will instruct all internet service providers to keep a record of all their communications for a year.

A new government law will come into play from the 15th March that will instruct all internet service providers to keep a record of all their communications for a year.

 

In order to create a database that will monitor all communications in the UK, details of every email, phone call and text message sent or received in the UK for a year will be recorded.

Susan Hall, ICT and media partner at Cobbetts, claimed that it will place a huge cost on businesses, specifically ISPs who would have to bear the costs of supplying the traffic data and storing it.

 

Hall said: “Such a database is the antithesis of what the whole internet is about. There have been regular and well-known cases when the police criminals' record database has illegally been accessed by ‘insiders', using it to vet employees and do favours for friends.


“The Government is trying to impose liabilities on service providers and for what? The theoretical possibility that it will stop terrorists? People applying for access to the database will, on the basis of what we've already seen happen with RIPA, use a slippery slope argument: first arguing for using the information for sex offenders and other serious criminals, but ultimately using it to worry about parking tickets or whether children are entitled to be enrolled in the school they've applied to, as in the recent Poole Council case.”

 

Hall further pointed to a recent case where the European Human Rights Court ruled that a similarly sweeping DNA database, which contained genetic samples from thousands of citizens who had not been convicted of any crime, violated privacy rights.

 

“Looking at the comments made in this recent case, the ISP's database will run the UK Government foul of the Convention on Human Rights and on this basis alone should be reconsidered”, said Hall.

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