F-Secure’s cyber security adviser Erka Koivunen was called to the British Parliament to give expert witness testimony to the Joint Committee scrutinising the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (also known as the Snoopers’ Charter). This follows F-Secure’s bid back in October to warn the government that its plans to implicate technology companies in its bid to collect data on people’s digital lives was technically flawed and potentially harmful to British business.
The draft Bill was introduced in early November, the Joint Committee has spent the last month or so listening to witness testimonies and receiving written evidence. We can expect the Committee to give its report in early next year after which the Bill would proceed to the Parliament sessions.
The Bill proposed by the Home Office aims to overhaul the powers law enforcement agencies have to collect data within the UK. This will involve ‘Communications Service Providers’ (CSP) storing session data of internet usage – the term used by the Government is ‘Internet Connection Records’ (ICR). Unfortunately, neither CSPs nor ICRs currently exist. These are terms created by the Bill writers and there is a distinct lack of clarity on the definitions of these terms. We, and many other expert witnesses, have voiced our concerns over the ambiguity of these terms and which companies and what data they relate to.