Embargo: Immediate Tuesday 30 October 2007
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659
GOVERNMENT FAILS TO UNDERSTAND THREAT TO INTERNET - LORDS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have reacted with disappointment to the Government's response to its report on Personal Internet Security.
The Government's reply to the Committee's report on
Personal Internet Security, which appeared on 10 August, was presented to Parliament on 24 October.
The Lords Committee recommended a range of measures to:
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
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.
The Report received whole-hearted support from the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety, which described it as "truly radical". However, the Government's reply makes no commitment to accept any of the major recommendations.
The Earl of Erroll, a member of the committee that undertook the inquiry, said:
"The Government's response is a huge disappointment. We heard compelling evidence of substantial amounts of e-crime and we were entirely persuaded that individuals were unable, on their own, to continue to keep themselves secure.
"The Internet relies on the confidence of millions of users, and that confidence is in danger of being undermined unless we can reverse the trends that our witnesses told us about.
"We don't know quite how bad things have become today - there are no reliable figures for e-crime. We recommended that the Government set up a group to develop a scheme for recording all forms of e-crime.
The reply just says that the Government 'do not see that there is a need' for this. If you have no idea of the scale of the problem, how can you design solutions?
Throughout our inquiry we tried to think outside the box, to look ahead ten years at what the Internet might be like, taking into account the emerging risks and challenges today. That's why our recommendations concentrated on incentives - we must ensure that everyone is motivated to improve security. Unfortunately, the Government dismissed every recommendation out of hand, and their approach seems to solely consist of putting their head in the sand."
Notes to Editors
1. The Committee's original report as well as links to responses to the report are available online at:
2. The Government reply was presented to Parliament by Command of Her Majesty on 24 October 2007 (Cm 7234). It is online at:
3. The response by the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety can be found online at
For further details or to request an interview with Lord Erroll, please contact Owen Williams on 020 7219 8659.