LondonNet News Headlines
13/07/00
Lords Inflict Email Defeat
- Peers vote for amendments to Government's R.I.P. internet interception bill

THE GOVERNMENT was left fuming last night as Peers added two crucial amendments to their Regulation of Investigatory Powers (R.I.P.) Bill.

The Bill seeks to facilitate the interception by government agencies of internet messages including email. Under the proposals websites and ISPs could be forced to use snooping devices dubbed "black boxes" if ordered by the authorities.

The House of Lords, which has generally been opposed to the R.I.P. Bill, secured the two changes by clear majorities. The first, which provides for "fair" compensation to companies having to install the bugs, was carried by 131 votes to 119. The second, to establish an independent "Technical Advisory Board" by 155 to 131.

The R.I.P. Bill is aimed at combatting so-called cyber criminals who use the net to assist them in a variety of nefarious purposes including child pornography, drug-trafficking and terrorism. Critics argue that the shadowy nature of many of the official organisations who will be entitled to spy on surfers, including MI5 and MI6, means that there will be little scope for accountability in the system.



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