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UK internet surveillance green paper prompts six ISPs to join ISPA

UK internet surveillance green paper prompts six ISPs to join ISPAThe contentious Communications Bill green paper which was announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech has prompted six ISPs to join ISPA – the the Internet Services Providers Association.

ISPA is the UK’s trade association for providers of internet services which now counts over 200 ISPs in its ranks.

ISPA Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman, “Potentially onerous new regulations placed upon service providers, the upcoming Communications Bill Green Paper, free CISAS membership, ISPA events and the chance to shape policy, are just some of the reasons members have recently joined ISPA.”

Though yet to be finalised and written into law, the Communications Bill is thought to be an attempt to regulate the internet, forcing ISPs into tracking and policing the behaviour of subscribers.

New ISPA member Smoothwall said in a statement: “As the UK’s leading developer of web filtering technologies we are aware of the increasing pressures placed on all types of ISPs by social activists, politicians and legislators. Our aim in joining the ISPA is to help the members to understand the techniques and filtering tools that are available to them if they wish to implement filtered services for their customers.”

The paper will, according to “reflect the work already underway to deliver against the cyber security strategy, published last November.”

Briefing notes (ages 44-45) from the Queen’s Speech state that:

“The draft Bill would protect the public by ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others continue to have access to communications data so that they can bring offenders to justice.”

with an emphasis on:

“Communications data is information about a communication, not the
communication itself. Communication data is NOT the content of any communication – the text of an email, or conversation on a telephone.”

So in a nutshell it’s who was talking to who when and where, and less of what they talked about.

The draft Bill proposes that data is retained by ISPs for 12 months and that measures be taken to “protect the data from unauthorised access or disclosure.” The full document can be found here.

The Communications Bill green paper is to be “followed by a long period of consultation” with a white paper and draft bill to be published in April 2013.

Use to contact your local MP and find out where they stand on the Bill. The next UK General Election is set to be held on the 7th of May 2015.