FEI warns Government RIP faces huge hurdles

The Federation of Electronic Industries has warned the Government that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) bill faces...

The Federation of Electronic Industries has warned the Government that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) bill faces serious technical hurdles if the government presses ahead with legislation.

David Bicknell

Tom Wills-Sandford, the FEI's Director of Information and Communications Technology last week told Computer Weekly that, irrespective of the civil liberties issues now being debated, the IT industry has yet to find a technical solution to monitor Internet traffic.

Although the FEI has previously warned the Home Office that technical hurdles persist, they had not taken the message on board in the wake of industry concerns over costs to Internet service providers, and worries over civil liberties issues.

Wills-Sandford's warning follows the failure of the latest public consultation meeting, Scrambling for Safety, to bridge the widening gap between Home Office legislators and campaigners. At the event, Home Office minister Charles Clarke refused to budge over concerns regarding a defendant's ability to "prove" that they did not have access to a decryption key if requested by law enforcement officials.

Wills-Sandford insisted that the FEI did not consider it impossible to be able to monitor Internet traffic, but simply that the computer industry has yet to find a way to achieve it. "It is one thing sitting at the end of a network monitoring communications when there is one route where a message could travel. It is something else sitting in the middle of a network when you don't know the route a message can take. It is like sitting in a middle of a snowstorm," he said.

The Home Office is believed to have commissioned a report from consultants to verify the industry's concerns. However, the report is expected to be classified, and so if the industry is to be able to read the report when it is published, a declassified version will be needed.

The UK Government may also find it difficult to persuade US communications specialists such as Nortel and Cisco to make producing specific interception capabilities for the UK a priority when the US have rejected it.

This was last published in March 2000

Read more on IT risk management

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.






  • How do I size a UPS unit?

    Your data center UPS sizing needs are dependent on a variety of factors. Develop configurations and determine the estimated UPS ...

  • How to enhance FTP server security

    If you still use FTP servers in your organization, use IP address whitelists, login restrictions and data encryption -- and just ...

  • 3 ways to approach cloud bursting

    With different cloud bursting techniques and tools from Amazon, Zerto, VMware and Oracle, admins can bolster cloud connections ...