Feeds

Home Office punished for drafting poor IT legislation?

Responsibilities shifted to other Whitehall departments

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Home Office has finally got its comeuppance for four years of sloppy and civil rights-infringing legislation. Following his re-election, Tony Blair has made a number of tweaks in the machinery of government.

The most extensive of which is the streamlining of the Home Office. The official line is that the Home Office will "lose a number of functions which are not central to its work, to allow it to focus on tackling crime, reform of the criminal justice system and asylum".

However, these functions are closely linked to areas where the Home Office has been heavily criticised for its poor consideration of them when drafting legislation. Most have involved the politically aware and strong-minded IT industry.

Several bills, including the notorious RIP Act, have claimed they fit in with data protection, freedom of information and human rights legislation when they patently do not. In the case of the RIP Act, it was decided a code of practice was needed to work alongside the law. This was expected months ago but is still being drafted thanks to the enormous complexity of the task.

Many were incredulous that such Bills could make it to and through Parliament, but because the Home Office had ultimate responsibility for the conflicting legislation, no other department felt it could tackle the Home Office on its own ground. That's Whitehall for you.

That situation is now thankfully over and freedom of information, data protection and human rights have been shifted to the more logical home of the Lord Chancellor's department. Sadly though not before a raft of poor legislation (the Terrorism Act is another) has become law.

Another cock-up with regard to the IT industry was the recent Private Security Industry Act, which unnecessarily wrote sysadmins into a new licensing scheme aimed at bouncers and wheel-clampers. Observers felt the Home Office deliberately failed to change the Bill to exclude sysadmins (something that was quite simple) because of the embarrassment the IT industry has caused it in recent years.

This won't happen in the future either, as gambling, licensing, censorship and video classification, horseracing, and planning for the Golden Jubilee have all been moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Again, though, the law has already been passed.

Other shifts include the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordination Unit transferring to the Cabinet Office and the Department for Trade and Industry taking over summertime and Sunday trading.

Sadly, this is the way government works. But in its own special way, it shows that the civil service and politicians are listening. ®

Related Story

The UK's new political landscape for IT

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.