21 December 2016

What do you think of the Snooper’s Charter?computer code

The controversial bill – which calls for ISPs and mobile phone providers to keep records of users’ internet browsing activity, email, social media communication, voice calls, mobile messaging AND to store them for 12 months – has received a massive blow from the EU’s highest court this morning.

The European Court of Justice has called the ‘general and indiscriminate retention’ of emails and electronic/digital communications by governments illegal. The question remains as to what impact the court’s decision will have once we leave the EU.

I’ve spoken before of the strain that this will put on Britain’s tech firms and to me, the bill is concerning at best. It’s un-British. We have a system that works, and one that is massively better than the American Patriot Act. It also gives British tech firms a competitive advantage because we respect privacy here and protect data in the UK.

The government’s plans for increased mass surveillance run the risk of stifling innovation in a big way.

Here, under the current system, you have the assurance that nobody can access your data (we can’t access it as a hosting provider, it’s our clients’ property) unless a court has been involved and there is cause for concern.

These reassurances have been a big driving force, which helps our country’s technology businesses and the channel to grow and keep British data on British soil.

On top of this, software companies are clearly concerned about the possibility of having to add backdoors to their products. We’ve seen before that businesses vote with their feet – we could lose some of our best businesses if the situation becomes unmanageable.

Surely the government needs to start listening to the opinions of industry experts and the highest court we’re subject to, and realise that this law is unworkable.

I very much doubt that the so-called Snooper’s Charter will help them catch the people they’re trying to catch. The government doesn’t have a strong track record of keeping up with the technology; it’ll be like whack-a-mole.

I’d love to know what you think about the charter and the effect you see it having on your business.

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