Tag Archives: European Union

British Government Propose New Data Access Law

The British government has, out of the blue, started to push through a new legislation which would allow the police and security services to access phone and ISP’s data about the public, and force the companies to hold this data for 12 months.

There has been a lot of outrage about this all over the internet, mainly from people who have only read the first part of the article and are cross about how their personal data can be accessed by the police and the security services (the government itself has no direct access to this information, a fact that is often glossed over when discussing this subject).

This has come about after an European Union (EU) directive, in April, ruled that the standing EU law on this subject, created after 7/7, was an invasion of privacy and therefore companies would no longer have to store this data. This is why the government is keen to have the legislation rushed through parliament, as soon the companies will start restricting their access to this data and then start deleting the data as there would no longer be anything requiring them to keep it.

The new legislation will require the phone and internet companies to keep metadata (essentially data about the data that has been transferred, not the actual data – so you can see that a text has been sent but not what the text says). This, in reality, is exactly what the EU law used to do – so if the EU law was deemed an invasion of privacy, how can this new law not be viewed as the same?

However, the new legislation will have to be reviewed after 2 years, after the review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act has been made. This means that the way the government and its departments have access to data will be under scrutiny during this review, and therefore this legislation will likely change again soon.

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