8 June 2015

Last week, some comments I made about communications data law were published in a piece by the Financial Times. It’s a debate that’s gathering a lot of momentum lately, as British businesses start considering their options in case current laws are reformed to give us the Snooper’s Charter we clearly do not want.

cctv_camera_300x225What concerns me is how vague the legislation is. As a hosting provider, the worst part is not knowing how much and what type of data we would have to hold. At the moment we’ve got a system that works, so why change it?

We have a responsibility with our clients that nobody can access their data; even I can’t access it, it’s their property. If somebody does something illegal then the police can get a warrant from the courts, collect the relevant server and take it away for investigation.

In this situation, you have the assurance that a court has been involved under the current system. If it becomes open to abuse by any politician or government official, that’s not healthy.

You’ve also got to think about it from a cost point of view. The government claims it’s going to cost £2bn but I think it’s going to be considerably more than that. Most people back-up their data up to a couple of weeks in arrears, but you are going to be asking people to back-up 365 days’ worth of data. That will be an enormous cost.

Not only that, but with all the uncertainty, there are already a number of British businesses weighing up their options, even putting projects on hold while they try to figure out the lay of the land. There are so many questions up in the air, especially when it comes to encryption and the worry of back door access to data for government officials – surely an unworkable idea in practice.

Never mind using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, this is using a JCB to crack a nut. In my mind, it is wrong, ethically as well as practically speaking, and completely un-British! Where do you stand? Does the new legislation concern you or do you see it as a necessary step for the sake of public safety?

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