Feeds

UK phone records to be kept for a year

But internet activity let off the hook

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

UK telecoms companies will have to keep phone call logs for a year under a new law, which comes into force in October.

The law does not apply to records of internet activity, such as web surfing, email, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls.

The Data Retention (EC) Regulations (draft; the final Regulations were unavailable at time of writing) were approved by the House of Lords on Tuesday and signed into law by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on Wednesday. The regulations transpose into UK law most of the European Union's Data Retention Directive.

The new law is intended to ensure that security services have a reliable log of mobile and fixed-line phone calls to be used in investigations, and relates not to the content of calls but only to records of their occurrence.

Though all telecoms firms keep data for a period, the regulations are designed to ensure a uniform approach across the industry.

"Communications data, such as mobile phone billing data, have a proven track record in supporting law enforcement and intelligence agency investigations and are a vital investigative tool," said Lord Bassam of Brighton, who proposed the adoption of the Regulations this week in the House of Lords.

"They provide evidence of associations between individuals and can place them in a particular location. They also provide evidence of innocence."

"Without this data, the ability of the police and the Security Service painstakingly to investigate the associations between those involved in terrorist attacks and those who may have directed or financed their activity would be limited," said Bassam.

"The police and the Security Service's ability to investigate terrorist plots and serious crime must not be allowed to depend on the business practice that happens to be employed by the public communications provider that a particular suspect, victim or witness used. These draft regulations will ensure that, regardless of which public communication provider supplies the service, the communications data will be available."

The regulations will come into force on 1 October, two weeks after the deadline set by the EU, but they will not apply to internet traffic data.

The Home Office conducted a consultation on the regulations with the public and industry and said the telecoms industry told it that the collection of internet data was too complicated to be include in the current rules.

In fact, the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) told the Home Office it believed the current regulations could never be used for ordering the retention of internet data.

"Many respondents felt that the complexity surrounding the internet make the draft regulations an inappropriate framework for implementation of the internet aspects as this would present particular technical and resourcing issues," said a Government response to the public consultation. "The Internet Service Provider Association (ISPA) commented that 'the draft regulations as they stand would not enable implementation of the internet aspects of the Directive'."

"The respondents cited specific examples such as the increased difficulties in replicating the 'end to end' picture of communications data, the difference in the cost profile for storage and retrieval of Internet communications and the need for a strong business case, if the retention period for IP data is set at 12 months."

The directive allows member states to extend the rules to internet data at a later date, provided these rules are in force by 15 March 2009.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.