back to article ISP industry blasts UK Telecoms Security Bill for vague requirements, high costs of compliance

Introduced last year by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the UK's Telecommunications Security Bill aims to change how mobile and fixed-line communications systems are built and operated. The bill is a recognition of the importance of comms networks to national security, and was largely spurred by …

  1. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    FAIL

    Translation

    "The security of our telecoms networks is paramount and it is vital that we bring in tough new securitysnooping standards to keep everyone under surveillance so we have total control protect them for the future.

    "We understand many organisations will have views and once the Bill becomes law we will launch a consultation on the draft code of practice and carefully consider ignore the responses of all those affected."

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Translation

      Indeed. The answer to the question in the article - "It is not clear exactly what level of data will need to be recorded in order to meet these requirements beyond excluding the content of signals," it said. "For example, is it aimed at holding data on end-user access to services, internal access logs, or internet connection records?". All of it. They want to watch what everyone is doing at all times. See also the latest from the Snoopers' Charter, which El Reg doesn't seem to have covered yet - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56362170

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Translation

        Journalism opportunity here: "The internet providers themselves are prevented from saying if they are involved, as the law bans "disclosing" the existence of a data retention notice to anyone else."

        It seems the ISPs not participating in the trial or not served with a data retention notice can disclose the non-existence of said data retention notice....

        1. Victor Ludorum

          The ol' Warrant Canary

          Maybe every company should start to put a warrant canary in their filings...

          I agree with Cuddles' note above that El Reg is yet to mention the Snoopers Charter stuff going on, also mentioned in The Graun and Wired.

          Maybe El Reg are doing some deep digging before they release their exposé...

  2. Dave White

    Clickbait

    The title does not accurately reflect the content of the article. There were comments and questions raised, but no blasting. We aren't teenagers who need to be dragged into the story, El Reg, so please don't treat us as such.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Clickbait

      I would also like to register my vote for giving the Daily Express-style headlines a rest.

      1. coddachubb

        Re: Clickbait

        When has that never been the case for this sort of article?

    2. CrackedNoggin

      Re: Clickbait

      A more formal word would be "criticise", but worrying if "blasts" is a suitable synonym or not is splitting hairs. If, because it will upset the old boy camaraderie, you are afraid to pointedly criticise proposed legislation which is not been logically thought then something is deeply wrong.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vague requirements and laws are the best ones because the interpretation of said laws and requirements fall to government without the oversight of parliament and by the time the judiciary get to it it's too late. It seems the government is taking a multi pronged approach to knobbing encryption and getting access to everyone's data.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Vague requirements ?

      This is collecting personal data. I thought that the data-protection-act/GDPR said that what data is being collected, and why, had to be clear and easy to understand -- so why vagueness ?

      I do understand that I cannot opt out of this government data scrape, but I should know what is happening.

      1. R Soul

        Re: Vague requirements ?

        This is collecting personal data. I thought that the data-protection-act/GDPR said that what data is being collected, and why, had to be clear and easy to understand -- so why vagueness ?

        Data protection and GDPR doesn't apply when the data is snooped^Wgathered for law enforcement purposes. Have a nice day.

        The vagueness is deliberate. Internet connection records (or whatever) can mean whatever the snoopers want them to mean. Future changes and mission creep won't have to bother with the inconvenience of getting a new law passed or parliamentary scrutiny. That can all be done with a quiet word behind closed doors in Westminster.

  4. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Agree on the code first

    The code should be part of the bill and debated upon before becoming law. A code that can be changed without the oversight of Parliament gives too much power to the ministers and their lobbyists (ie the UK security services and the US alphabet soup (NSA,CIA,DHS,DoD etc)).

    If the UK government actually wanted more secure telecoms (which they obviously do not) then they would require the ISPs etc to remove the Cisco equipment (with its NSA backdoors) and replace it with Huawei equipment.

    Icon for what should happen to the power hungry security services of all nations =======>

  5. osakajin Silver badge

    You mean the government wants access to all our data. What is this!?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    prevent activities that unreasonably restrict monitoring, analysis and investigation

    in plain English: encryption. So, the ISP can block full-on encryption, vpn, etc, cause it 'unreasonably' restricts. Brilliant. So, in place of making (100%-proof) encryption illegal, which would make the government look really bad, they want to 'outsource' this job to the ISPs so they can take the flak instead.

  7. LenG

    Wrong worms

    The last thing I read on the register before this article was Dabbs's comments on using the correct words. Then I came across this :

    "They're telling businesses what they can and can't buy, intervening in mergers, proscribing how to run operations, ..."

    Proscribe means ban or forbid. I know it is a quote but unless it is actually a misquote or a typo it actually makes no real sense. I sympathise with the sentiment expressed but I do wish someone would proof read these sort of utterances rather than just spell-check them

  8. deive

    Is this the end of the last semblance of conservatism, and their "small" govenrment?

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Conservatism

      Just as Conservatism has been replaced by Trumpism here across the pond, you have replaced it with Johnsonism (which is really just a small Johnson version of Trumpism).

  9. Tron

    Every breath you take and every move you make...

    -Two UK ISPs are working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Home Office to test web spying powers, reports BBC News.

    I don't recall reading much about this on El Reg. I may have missed it. Or perhaps it accidentally slipped through the net at the BBC.

    I would guess that the govt. want as much data as is feasible and are trying to find out what the viable max is. They will also want to identify anyone who is using a lot of encryption, or a VPN. Perhaps with a view to banning VPNs in the near future.

    Maybe they don't want to have to keep asking the NSA what we are all up to. Spying begins at home.

    I wonder if the enforced retirement of copper (as bad an idea as Beeching's axe on the rail network) is only partly to reduce BT's costs. Is it also to move landline calls to VoIP, so they become data and can be monitored more easily?

    Expect a lot more fuss over minor security issues in the next few months, to butter everyone up for government intervention (to protect the children, national security etc). We've lived with security issues for decades (I was getting a dozen fake calls a week courtesy of the TalkTalk fail, cheers Dido). Now they will be inflated as more serious than they are (like the cost of piracy to the music industry).

    The added costs are not an issue. You will recall Boris's comment, 'F*ck business'. There will be a progressive movement to seal the digital borders as they have sealed the physical ones, and 'take back control', regardless of the cost. Brexit (not Covid) knocked 40% off exports in January. Time was when politicians would run around screaming if exports dipped 0.2%. The world has changed, and the next target for 'taking back control' is tech (generally) and the internet (specifically).

    There may be trouble ahead for our sector.

    1. Tron

      Re: Every breath you take and every move you make...

      Addition. 40% off exports *to the EU*. Before someone points out the obvious.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah....another "security" bill......making us safer, etc. etc. etc....

    Quote: ".... the Investigatory Powers Act....requirements, as well as the mechanisms in which data can be accessed by a government body, are well defined..."

    Quote: ".....encryption......"

    *

    LOL....."well defined".....unless you work in Cheltenham.....when anything goes!!!!

    *

    LOL....."encryption".....I REALLY don't get this. The spooks want so-called "backdoors" into so called "end-to-end" encryption. But anyone at all can use private encryption before a message enters an encrypted channel. And note that the private encryption can be message phrases in plain English which have a pre-agreed meaning (e.g. "The crow is on the oak tree" meaning "Meet at the usual place at 10.00am tomorrow")......and that's before you get a bit fancier -- see below.

    *

    ....and as for identifying every end-point to a specific, real person........joke.......

    *

    c1mPujWJkTMrs7knYlC5anGz09cTYlCFanIHuxoB

    GxC1CHmLKjEBuxoTI1mFIdAPYlChanIjuhSPYlCt

    anIrOXYtoPkh61g3yZg9sTqToTaZGxMjYlEdanKL

    uhU3YlEnanKTOXavoPmZwFCnqfG7YlG3anM1uhUf

    YlGBanMDoDgLYrwPYlGPanMPmTEpYlGVanMf

    *

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