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[FYI] (Fwd) [NEWS] UK to retain data for 12 months

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Thu, 18 Oct 2001 14:27:50 -0400
From:           	Sarah Andrews <andrews@epic.org>
Subject:        	[NEWS] UK to retain data for 12 months
To:             	gilc-plan@gilc.org
Send reply to:  	gilc-plan@gilc.org


SURVEILLANCE: Businesses to hold e-mail records for 12 months
Financial Times, Oct 17, 2001

Businesses will be forced to retain records of e-mails and internet
usage for 12 months under new anti-terrorist legislation, the
government revealed yesterday. The length of the compulsory retention
period - four times the three months that many internet service
providers hold data at present - will add to business alarm at the
cost and legal implications of the measures. "We are concerned about
the costs and about what liabilities it will set up for businesses
(that) may have contractual obligations with other businesses outside
the UK that data is to be kept safe and not divulged," said Will
Roebuck, director of E-Centre UK, an industry association. The
industry concern stems in part from the uncertainty generated by the
home secretary's announcement on Monday of "measures to enable
communication service providers to retain data generated in the course
of their business". David Blunkett's statement did not say how such
providers would be defined, how long the data must be held, or who
would pick up the bill. It said simply that the government would "work
with the industry on a code of practice to take (the measures)
forward." But any reassurance the industry derives from the assumption
that a code meant the measures would be voluntary appears misplaced:
the Home Office said yesterday that the measures would "have a
statutory base," requiring data to be held for 12 months. It added
that the government was "still working on the type of data that people
will be required to keep." This will fuel industry anxiety. "Our main
concerns are just who's going to be covered by this and how extensive
the data retention will be," said Pamela Taylor, senior e-business
policy adviser at the Confederation of British Industry. Freeserve and
AOL, two of the biggest internet service providers in the UK, said
they kept communication records for three months. Being forced to keep
data longer than this would create practical problems. "Three months
is what the law enforcement people say they need," said Camille de
Stempel, director of security and networking at AOL Europe. "The issue
is practical feasibility. It is not the storage of the data, but the
retrieval that would be crippling." The potential battle in the UK
between industry and the state may foreshadow a wider fight across
Europe on the same issue, where industry has expressed concern about
proposals on data retention in the draft telecommunications directive.
The uncertainty over the new measures on monitoring internet traffic -
when messages were sent, and to and >from which addresses - adds to
the existing fog surrounding the surveillance of online content. The
government is still discussing with industry the details and costing
of its controversial measures to force internet service providers to
install "black boxes" to allow the security services to monitor the
content of e-mails.

Copyright: The Financial Times Limited

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