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The Confederation of British Industry is to leap to the defence of UK Internet users.

In a letter to today's FT, the director general of the CBI Digby Jones states his organisation's grievances over the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act.

Jones intends to pen a letter to the Department of Trade and Industry to "suggest" giving the public longer than three and a half weeks to comment on the regulations in the Act. The RIP proposals in question would give bosses the power to read staff emails, in certain circumstances, without their consent.

He said RIP would "certainly place additional burdens on business".

"The real issue for business is that the regulations must grant legal certainty and are practical. What our members want is for e-mails to be available within the business in exactly the same way as paper-based communications," Jones wrote.

"The RIP Bill was greatly improved by the government taking the time, and being prepared, to accept amendments. We hope that the regulations will be treated similarly - and we are writing to the Department of Trade and Industry to suggest that, with this in mind, the deadline for comments be extended."

The DTI has given the public until Friday 25 August to fill in a questionnaire on the regulations. The CBI wants this deadline extended to the end of September.

"The DTI is very keen to get comment. But the consulting period is far from ideal," said Nigel Hickson, CBI head of e-business policy, who today described RIP's post-Parliament form as "broadly satisfactory". ®

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