Feeds

UK.gov lambasted for ignoring peers' cybercrime report

Either stupid or ignorant, fumes security researcher

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A leading security expert has criticised the UK government for ignoring recommendations on tackling cybercrime from peers.

The House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee produced a five point plan for tackling cybercrime and safeguarding e-commerce after extensive consultations with experts in industry and academia.

Proposals in the committee's Personal Internet Security report included establishing a centralised and automated system for the reporting of e-crime and enacting US-style data breach notification disclosure laws.

More controversially, the committee argued for moves towards making suppliers legally liable for damage resulting from security flaws.

The government responded last week to the August report of the committee that "turned down pretty much every recommendation", according to a security researcher who aided peers in their hearings.

Richard Clayton, a security researcher at Cambridge University and long-time contributor to UK security policy working groups, has expressed deep frustration at the government's lack of action. He accuses the government of complacency, or worse, in a strongly worded critique posted on the University of Cambridge security blog.

Among the peers' key recommendations - after hearing testimony from experts from Microsoft, Cisco, Verisign, and others - were measures designed to collate information on the extent of cybercrime. Policies introduced last April mean the public is advised to report incidents of credit card fraud to the banks instead of to the police.

The peers, and experts such as Clayton, disagree with this policy. But the government officials turned down calls for a rethink. "They don't think that having the banks collate crime reports gets all the incentives wrong; and they 'do not accept that the incidence of loss of personal data by companies is on an upward path'," Clayton writes.

He argues that the government is burying its head in the sand through a combination of either ignorance or stupidity. "If the government was up-to-speed on what researchers are documenting, they wouldn't be arguing that there is more crime solely because there are more users - and they could not possibly say that they 'refute the suggestion... that lawlessness is rife'," Clayton laments.

He expresses frustration at the government's lack of action. "That's more than a little surprising, because the report made a great deal of sense, and their lordships aren't fools," Clayton writes.

Clayton's frustration is understandable, but the government's lack of action on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee looking at internet security issues is far from unprecedented.

When the All Party Internet Group of MPs looked at the nuisance of junk mail it heard testimony that criminal sanctions were necessary and that legislation ought to deal with spam emails sent to businesses as well as private individuals. The recommendations were ignored, leaving huge loopholes that have rendered UK anti-spam laws toothless. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.