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ISPA gives UK gov't thumbs down

Interception plans will put smaller ISPs out of business

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The Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) has given a cautious welcome to government proposals to crack down on cyber crime. Last week the Home Office published a consultation paper on the interception of communications. Among the proposals it said that all UK ISPs should ensure their networks are capable of being intercepted and that this cost should be borne by the ISPs. Speaking at the launch of the paper the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, said: "We recognise that, by its nature, interception of communications is a highly intrusive activity, affecting the privacy of the individual. "That is why the government is committed to ensuring that the interception of communications is strictly regulated and complies fully with the Human Rights Act 1998." While safeguarding personal privacy is an issue, ISPA -- the trade association that represents UK Net companies -- is more concerned about the financial yoke if the proposals are introduced. "If the government requires all communications carriers to install a box costing £100,000 on their premises this will be regarded as a flea bite by the large telcos -- but put almost all small ISPs out of business," said Jim Dixon, ISPA council member and MD of VBCnet. ISPA wants said it wants to set up a meeting as soon as possible with the Home Office to obtain further clarification of their proposals. ®

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