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ISPA Concerned Over Data Retention
By: MarkJ - 17 September, 2003 (2:46 PM)

The UK Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) has today welcomed the governments RIPA recommendations, yet highlights continued concern over the effect of data retention on ISPs and their customers:

Jessica Hendrie-Liaño, Chair of ISPA Council said, “ISPA’s lobbying has helped to satisfy a number of the internet industry’s concerns about how government agencies gain access to communications data. However, the Government’s data retention proposals still arouse consternation.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)

ISPA has achieved significant successes in its lobbying activity in relation to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

ISPA has long held a request for the full enactment of Part 1 Chapter 2 of RIPA – legislation that was passed in 2000. This should establish a uniform procedure that law enforcement agencies and other designated authorities must commit to when wishing to access communications data.

However, ISPA remains concerned that certain agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions seem unwilling to give up the powers they retain under other laws.

Mrs. Hendrie-Liaño said, “This uniform procedure enables ISPs to assist law enforcement agencies and protect customer data. ISPs may find it difficult to assess the legitimacy of data access requests made using powers other than those granted under RIPA.

ISPA welcomes the Government’s commitment to the Single Point of Contact (SPoC) scheme. All notices from authorized agencies should be channelled to the ISP via a SPoC who should be a person of significant seniority within the designated authority.

The assurances of regular checks by an independent Commissioner on public bodies to ensure they are not abusing the powers granted to them under RIPA is another success of ISPA’s ongoing work with the Home Office.

Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act (ATCSA)

ISPA maintains its recommendation to ISPs that they do not subscribe to the voluntary code of practice under the Home Office’s data retention proposals.

Mrs. Hendrie-Liaño said, “ISPA lacks convincing evidence from law enforcement that the data retained by ISPs at the request of the Home Office will be of use to law enforcement. Moreover, ISPA believes the voluntary code of practice may cause ISPs legal problems due to conflicts with the Data Protection Act and Human Rights legislation.

ISPA also renews its call for more information about how ISPs will recover their costs for retaining data for law enforcement purposes.

Mrs. Hendrie-Liaño concluded, “The Government has not satisfied the industry that the data they wish to retain is of use to law enforcement agencies. Furthermore the Home Office must clarify how the industry will recover its costs for participating in any retention activity for law enforcement purposes.

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