Encryption specialists battling to overturn the government's proposed Web-tapping legislation are advising companies planning UK-based e-commerce services to consider starting up in Ireland or Germany instead.
Brian Gladman, an encryption specialist formerly with Nato and the Ministry of Defence, has put an "alert" on the Web for firms considering UK-based e-commerce, warning that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill creates potential business risks in encryption key seizure and Internet service provider interception.
The warning insists that the RIP Bill - which this week enters its committee stages - is creating a situation in which trust and confidence in the UK as an e-commerce-friendly country is "rapidly ebbing away".
Gladman said that although the Home Office said it would protect keys and seized information to high standards, high costs would prohibit the Government from protecting seized information to its own "government" standards.
If changes to RIP legislation do not go far enough, there is a strong incentive for businesses to consider other locations where government access to keys is not on the agenda, Gladman said.
"If you locate here, your security will be at increased risk," he said. "Moreover, you will be locating in an environment where it will be difficult to secure the trust and confidence of your potential customers."