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Subject: Re: UKNM: elec sigs policy
From: Tom Loosemore
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:12:42 GMT

>The long-delayed Govt consultation document is at
>http://www.dti.gov.uk/CII/elec/elec_com.html (in a PDF file).
>They have allowed three weeks (!) for the consultation period.
>Better get consulting, folks.
>- Giles

The DTI seems to think we should be grateful to have any consultation
period at all.

Caspar Bowden of the Foundation for Information Policy Research
(http://www.fipr.org) faxed a complaint to the DTI about the length of the
consultation period (cabinet office guidelines stipulate a minimum of 8
weeks consultation)

To which Dr.Stephen de Souza (of the DTI's E-Commerce Bill Team) replied
'guidelines are guidelines' and 'there is no requirement to extend it
further. On the contrary, there are strong arguments for expediting it.'

Caspar's now raising the issue with the Parliamentary Ombudsman, but don't
hold your breath. If you fancy adding your weight, fax Rt.Hon. Stephen
Byers MP, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry TODAY on 0171 215 5468
asking him why the DTI believes that, in the case of this vital e-commerce
consultation document, the benefits of being quick outweigh the benefits
and equity of being properly consultative. (Hint: they don't, the
Government just want to shoehorn the Bill into this session of Parliament.)

Alternatively, you can fax that DTI number direct from the web at
http://www.tomski.com/stand (don't worry, it'll look miles prettier than
most Web2Fax faxes )

The STAND site at http://www.stand.org.uk explains why this issue matters
to you, not least cos there are still many deeply worrying aspects to the
government's plans for e-commerce, even if they decide not to make you give
the keys to your data to the likes of BT 'for safe keeping'. The
consultation paper includes measures that will:

- enable police to tap anyone's email on the say-so of another policeman
(phone taps need the signature of the Home Secretary; why is email
- enable future ministers to re-introduce insecure 'give a third-party the
keys to your internet data' regimes at the drop of a hat.
- insists on the licencing of all digital signature providers (something
that only makes sense if the government has an eye on re-introducing an
insecure key-escrow scheme in the future)
- oh, and more bad stuff , but I'm tired...
Tom Loosemore
email: tomatjournalist [dot] co [dot] uk
fax: +44 (0) 171 681 2057
mob: +44 (0) 705 064 9431

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  UKNM: elec sigs policy, Giles Turnbull

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