Lords to attack UK.gov failings on internet security

Fraud reporting recommendations ignored

Members of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will this Friday call on ministers to do more to battle security threats online.

The House will debate the government's response to the well-regarded personal internet security recommendations produced by the Committee last year. Lords and security experts have criticised the failure to act on many of the recommendations, including making software developers legally liable for vulnerabilities.

Ahead of the new debate crossbench peer Lord Broers, who chaired the Committee's internet security sessions, said:

In our initial report we raised concerns that public confidence in the internet could be undermined if more was not done to prevent and prosecute e-crime. We felt that the Government, the police and the software developers were failing to meet their responsibilities and were quite unreasonably leaving individual users to fend for themselves.

Some of our recommendations, such as the establishment of a specialist e-crime police unit, are now being acted on by Government. But others, such as software developers' liability for damage caused by security flaws and enabling people to report online fraud directly to the police rather than their bank, have either been ignored or are awaiting action.

In our follow-up report we committed ourselves to keep an ongoing watch on developments in internet security and to press the Government to do more to ensure that confidence in the internet is maintained. This debate will enable members of the House to question the Government on what has been achieved and will allow members of the Committee to reassert their calls for better protection for internet users.

Last week the government finally approved a new dedicated e-crime police force to replace the National Hi-Tech Crime Squad, which was shut down in 2006. Concerns about the new unit's remit are likely to figure in Friday's debate.

The Committee's first report from August 2007 and the follow-up in July this year will also be up for discussion in the Lords from 12pm on October 10, and will be webcast live here. ®

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