Lords to launch follow-up security report

Lords to launch follow-up security report

Science and Technology Committee disappointed with government response to its 2007 report

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into why most of its security recommendations have been rejected by the government.

The committee is writing to those who gave evidence in its first inquiry and to those that expressed views after the government’s rejection. A follow-up report will be published in early summer.

The Lords made recommendations for new security policies in a report called Personal Internet Security, published in August 2007.

They made radical calls for vendors to take liability for flawed products, data breach notification laws, increased resources and skills for the police to deal with internet-based crime, and the reversal of the requirement that victims of online card fraud report crimes to banks rather than police.

The Lords expressed concern when the government responded in October 2007 dismissing most of the report’s recommendations, but with new circumstances, the Lords believe there is even more reason their proposals are recognised.

“The committee was disappointed with the government’s response to its report. We felt they had failed to address some of our key concerns about people’s security on the internet,” the committee's chairman, Lord Sutherland, said in a statement.

A spokesman for the committee said one of the most important points made by the Lords is the data notification law, which would mean authorities would have to disclose any data breaches. “The fact that the government changed its mind on the powers held by the Information Commissioner after the HMRC discs went missing shows the government has room to agree to more security commitments,” he said.

The loss of confidential data by HM Revenue and Customs had caused the government to increase the powers of the Information Commissioner's Office to inspect organisations holding sensitive data on members of the public.