Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

UK: "Police want keys to decode private e-mail"

ISSUE 1380

Police want keys to decode private e-mail By Robert Uhlig, Technology Correspondent

THE Government was accused yesterday of rushing through legislation that could allow it unprecedented powers to access and decrypt any person's private e-mail, inspect digital communications, and investigate data stored on their computers.

Stephen Byers, the Trade Secretary, and Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, proposed legislation that will make it an offence not to decipher confidential material on demand during a police inquiry.

Industry has three weeks to respond to their proposals, published as part of a consultation document on electronic commerce, which asks for help from industry in setting up a secure legal framework for trading on the Internet and via electronic links. Mr Byers said a Bill on electronic commerce, encompassing new encryption and data-policing proposals, will be published after Easter.