A new shadow looms over ecommerce today following the government's confirmation that it will introduce a bill to revise telephone tapping laws to include the Internet.
The move, confirmed in the Queen's Speech this morning, is feared by Internet service providers to add up to 15 per cent to their running costs. Corporate networks are also likely to be included in the plans, in a revision of the existing Interception of Communications Act which covers only post and telephone networks.
The speech, which sets out the government's annual legislative programme, also confirmed that the government would press ahead with an electronic communications bill.
However, its most controversial element, to give police powers to insist on the decoding of encrypted data, have been removed - and added to the bill revising telephone tapping laws.
That move should mean that the remaining elements of the electronic communications bill should speed through parliament without significant opposition. he move was welcomed by Caspar Bowden, director, foundation for information policy research, as a "skilful political amputation saving the life of ecommerce."
The most important of these is the clear establishment of the legal basis of digital signatures and electronic writing. Also included are plans to back an industry voluntary licensing scheme, dubbed tScheme, for ecommerce security providers specialising in authenticating surfers and websites.
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