Embargo: Immediate Monday 6 October 2008
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659


The House of Lords will this week debate two reports on Internet security published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee.

The reports Personal Internet Security published in August 2007 and its follow-up published in July this year were influential in highlighting the lack of protection offered to Internet users from threats including online fraud and identity theft, fishing and other email scams, bogus shopping websites and the risks associated with children's use of the Internet.

The Committee were critical of the Government for failing to grasp the extent of the potential threats to Internet users and dubbed the internet a 'wild west' where individuals were left responsible for their safety online. They also called on software manufacturers and organisations doing business online, such as banks, to take more responsibility for preventing e-crime.

The debate will take place in the House of Lords at around 12:00noon on Friday the 10th October. Lord Broers, who chaired the inquiry into Personal Internet Security, will open the debate.

Speaking ahead of the debate Lord Broers, said:

"In our initial report we raised concerns that public confidence in the Internet could be undermined if more was not done to prevent and prosecute e-crime. We felt that the Government, the police and the software developers were failing to meet their responsibilities and were quite unreasonably leaving individual users to fend for themselves

"Some of our recommendations, such as the establishment of a specialist e-crime police unit, are now being acted on by Government. But others, such as software developers liability for damage caused by security flaws and enabling people to report online fraud directly to the police rather than their bank, have either been ignored or are awaiting action.

"In our follow-up report we committed ourselves to keep an ongoing watch on developments in Internet security and to press the Government to do more to ensure that confidence in the Internet is maintained. This debate will enable members of the House to question the Government on what has been achieved and will allow members of the Committee to reassert their calls for better protection for Internet users."

Notes to Editors

1. The key recommendations in the Committees original report included:

  • Increase the resources and skills available to the police and criminal justice system to catch and prosecute e-criminals.
  • Establish a centralised and automated system, administered by law enforcement, for the reporting of e-crime.
  • Provide incentives to banks and other companies trading online to improve the data security by establishing a data security breach notification law.
  • Legislation to establish the principle that banks be held responsible for losses incurred by electronic fraud.
  • Procedures to be reviewed to allow the public to report e-crime directly to the police rather than having to go through their bank.
  • Improve standards of new software and hardware by taking the first steps towards the establishment of legal liability for damage resulting from security flaws.
  • Encourage Internet service providers to improve the security offered to customers by establishing a "kite mark" for Internet services.

2. The original report Personal Internet Security, its follow-up, the Governments response and the various press releases associated with the inquiry can be found online via the Science and Technology Committee's homepage at:

3. The debate can be viewed online as it proceeds at:

4. A full list of Members of the House of Lords who have put their names down to speak in the debate can be found at:

For further details or to request an interview with Lord Broers, please contact Owen Williams, House of Lords Head of Press and Media, on 020 7219 8659.