Party conference season: Conference calls from IT

IT directors and professional bodies are calling on the main political parties to kick-start the broadband rollout, clear up data...

IT directors and professional bodies are calling on the main political parties to kick-start the broadband rollout, clear up data protection and privacy legislation and raise awareness of security issues when the party conference season starts next week.

David Roberts, chief executive of The Infrastructure Forum, is disappointed with the political focus on creating a broadband infrastructure. "Whatever's going on appears to be stifling [broadband progress] and we're really disadvantaged compared to Europe."

Roberts urged the parties to do more to raise the general awareness of IT security issues and to adopt a more international outlook.

He also accused the Government of underestimating the danger posed by electronic fraud and the dissemination of viruses, particularly by organised criminals.

Greater urgency on broadband roll-out was the key priority for Philip Virgo, strategic adviser to the Institute for the Management of Information Systems. He also called for more co-operation between government and the private sector to minimise opportunities for e-crime.

Jeremy Beale, head of e-business at the Confederation of British Industry, called for a more realistic view of the value of e-business and its continued importance to the health of the economy.

Beale urged the parties to develop a greater sensitivity and understanding of the need to engage more widely with industry on key areas like security. He hoped the communications watchdog Ofcom would be more innovative and supportive of new communications such as broadband.

A common complaint raised by industry bodies and IT directors was the confusion surrounding conflicting legislation on issues such as data protection, IT security, and privacy.

"The majority of IT directors I know are confused as to where their responsibilities lie," said David Taylor, president of IT directors' group Certus.

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