UK.gov to tap BT as data harvester
Small ISP customers to be monitored upstream
The government will call on BT and other big communications firms to monitor small ISPs' customers and keep private information on them under European data retention rules, the Home Office has revealed.
Officals fear the cost of paying every small ISP to retain every customers' communications data. Instead, they will fund BT and other bandwidth wholesalers to gather the data from their networks.
The proposed arrangements emerged last week as the Home Office published draft laws transposing the European Union Data Retention Directive (EUDRD). "A communications provider is only obliged to retain communications data under these regulations after they have received a formal notice to do so from the Secretary of State," the draft laws say.
"The Secretary of State must give a written notice... unless the communications data concerned are retained in the United Kingdom in accordance with these Regulations by another public communications provider."
A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed the laws mean higher tier providers, including BT, will be called on to act as the government's collectors, pooling pivate communications data from dozens of small reseller networks.
BT said it was examining the draft legislation and declined to comment.
The arrangement is the Home Office's solution to its dilemma of having to comply with EU law, while not wishing to fund every ISP's data retention system. At an industry meeting last year officials were unable to provide clear guidance on what small operations would be required to do once the EUDRD became UK law.
The directive, which the UK government pressed for in the wake of the 2005 London bombings, requires every ISP to retain IP addresses and session data* for a minimum of six months. The UK's draft laws set a minimum of 12 months.
Taxpayers have paid £19m in the last four years for voice communications providers to retain data on who calls whom. The Home Office estimates that retention by ISPs will cost a further £43m.
Separately this week, a legal callenge against the directive by small countries including Ireland was rejected by the European Court of Justice.
The EUDRD had been scheduled to be transposed as part of a broader Communications Data Bill, but was spun out as a stand alone statutory instrument in order to meet a March deadline.
The internet industry now awaits news of the other part of the Communications Data Bill, as it was originally envisaged. Intelligence chiefs want a vast central government database to pool retained data, and "maintain capability" to monitor communications, costing many billions.
A consultation on the plans, being developed in Whitehall as the "Interception Modernisation Programme", was scheduled to be published in January, but has so far failed to appear. A Home Office statement said: "The consultation is due to commence early this year, but a final date for the launch has still to be confirmed". ®
*Full details of the internet communications data to be retained under the UK implementation of the EUDRD are here. Scroll to Part 3.
Small ISP vs BT
I run a micro-ISP, and I'm keen to know exactly where the f**k BT actually come unto the picture. I supply co-location space and internet connectivity to a number of customers, and none of this goes anywhere near BT's infrastructure. So WTF?
I've also heard nothing about what exactly I am supposed to log about who? I don't (yet) supply ADSL and all my client connections are static IPs. I'm not even sure yet if I DO have to log anything. I've heard talk of some EU legislation, which means I'm probably in violation of that, but how the hell do I find out what it is?
Fortunately managed to escape from America's "unsinkable aircraft carrier".
Seems to me that "unsinkable" is a relative term. Sinking into the sea would be unfortunate, but not nearly so bad as sinking into the depths of moral depravity that NULab seems determined to plunge the country into.
There's a copy of Fowler in the pocket, and I know I shouldn't have ended a sentence with a preposition - but who cares any more?
Do NOT take this lying down UK citizens
If BT agree to do this I would advise all Internet users to immediately cancel their phone lines with them and move to an LLU provider if you can, or cable. That assumes only BT take it on as the sugegstion is all big network carriers would likely have to commit to it and funded by the governement in part (That meanns you and I as tax payers will be hit with it).
I know not everyone can just cancel their communication services but it would be sufficiently damaging to BT and others who can if sufficient volumes of people do so.
I'm so incensed at this that I'll vote for the first time in my life to get the labour government out and in fact will vote for the blah party as none of the others are capable of running this country in nothing less than a nanny state condition.
I work in the Telecoms industry and have done for years now but if this goes through I will remove my internet access, mobile phone and landline phone services and not pay any of them a penny more. In fact the only way they'll eaves drop on what I'm doing is if they send the man in the van with his dark glasses and big jug ears to follow me.
Every person in the UK and Europe should be totally outraged at this invasion of our civil liberties it's disgraceful and we should not stand for it any longer.
Constructive action is needed nothing more and what better than to hit them where it hurts the most - In their pockets.
You should not accept this under their bullshit of anti terroism or whatever line they feed you - Your no less at risk today than you were from the IRA in the 70's but boy wouldn't they like to worry you into thinking you were.
Don't stand for it! I'm not.