ISPreview - ISPs Raise Concerns Over Data Retention Proposals
ISPs Raise Concerns Over Data Retention
By: Mark Jackson - May 27th, 2008 : Page 3 -of- 3
"PM Gordon Brown has already raised the prospect of storing all related logs in a central database"

However, PM Gordon Brown has already raised the prospect of storing all related logs in a central database, which will send shock waves through anybody reading about the recent lapses in personal security. The loss of 25m child benefit and 3m DVLA records doesn’t exactly set a shining example. To propose a central database may be cheaper in some respects but it is in no way secure and leaves personal data far too vulnerable.

Meanwhile other providers, such as KCOM (Eclipse Internet, Karoo), claim to have already implemented cost-effective data management systems. Similarly a spokesman for Virgin Media told us that they would “comply with all [THEIR] obligations” pertaining to data retention and disclosure of data.

Dealing with VoIP

However, the situation is not so clear when it comes to future amendments, which could see Voice-over-IP (VoIP) / Internet Telephone calls being logged too. This type of data is typically more complex and some providers, such as IDNet, note that it may not be an easy situation to resolve: “This is where the proposal starts to unravel: for us to log calls made via, e.g. Skype, we would have to intercept all such traffic. Same for web browsing activity and I'm quite sure that would not go down at all well!” said Simon Davies.

Others, like Quik Internet’s David Mitchell, fear that logging VoIP access will “hinder its growth” due to the “incredible” storage requirements.


Clearly most of the providers ISPreview has spoken with appear to agree that the proposals are plausible, albeit with some concerns over costs and the format of the information itself. In addition, issues over government compensation for any costs incurred remain somewhat uncertain and are yet to be clarified.

Naturally while ISPs grapple with the technical and cost dilemmas, consumers will need to decide for themselves whether or not this level of data retention goes too far. To some it is further evidence for the erosion of UK civil liberties and justice, which appear to be moving away from old doctrines of “innocent until proven guilty”, preferring instead to call you “guilty until you can prove yourself innocent”. So, exactly what are we ALL supposed to be guilty of anyway?

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