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Queen’s Speech hints at Communications Data Bill rebirth

Nick Clegg may have stuck the knife into plans for the Communications Data Bill, aka the Snoopers’ Charter, but today’s Queen’s Speech suggests it’s not dead yet. 

During the State Opening of Parliament, the Queen spoke of plans for immigration and pension reform but had this to say about the Comms Data Bill:

“In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol [IP] addresses, my government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace.”

While the Bill wasn’t mentioned by name, this shows that the government still has plans for something similar. 

Queen’s Speech hints at Communications Data Bill rebirth
Communications Data Bill – is it dead or is it just sleeping?

Read Recombu Digital’s report on the Communications Data Bill

External IP addresses are currently assigned to each house or business premises. Your broadband router will then assigned internal IP addresses to each device – computer, laptop, mobile phone – connected to the router. Also, whenever you turn your router off and back on again, your ISP will normally assign a new external IP.

As such, it’s currently very hard to match specific activity to individuals sharing a connection in on premises. Adoption of IPv6 could make tracking specific people easier, but it’ll be years before this is used by people en masse.

The Communications Data Bill proposed that ISPs would need to keep records of subscribers’ web activity for a year, as well as keeping tabs on who was talking to who on Skype and Facebook. Last month, Nick Clegg vetoed the chance of the Bill appearing in the Queen’s Speech. At the time, many thought the plans were as good as dead. 

But with a few words, Her Majesty has breathed new life into speculation that the Snoopers’ Charter, or something very much like it, is on the cards. 

Image credit: gov.uk

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