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Communications Data: more onerous obligations for telcos on the cards

Emily Parris
02/08/2012
What will be the impact of the government's planned reform of the rules governing police and intelligence service access to "communications data"?  If the current proposals are adopted, telecoms What will be the impact of the government's planned reform of the rules governing police and intelligence service access to "communications data"?  If the current proposals are adopted, telecoms services and systems provider would have to comply with more onerous and prescriptive obligations around communications data.  

The proposals affect the type and volume of communications data that providers will have to generate, the methods and equipment that they must use, how and in what format communications data must be stored, and the "processing" activities that providers may have to undertake, including reading, organisation, analysis, copying, correcting, adapting and retrieving communications data and integrating it with other data. 

Plans for data that is fragmented across different networks and providers to be aggregated, filtered and matched are also likely to be heavily scrutinised by privacy and human rights groups.  

The publication of the proposals in draft form allows more extensive consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny.  It also reflects the sensitivities around the measures that are being proposed.  The draft Bill goes before a joint committee of both Houses which will report in November 2012. 

The full text of the draft Bill (and background info from the Home Office) is available at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/counter-terrorism/communications-data/ and we've also prepared a detailed analysis of the proposals.

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