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The BBC's Rory Cellan Jones
"A new threat to security"
 real 28k

Monday, 19 June, 2000, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Peers examine email tapping

The government's bill to update security laws in the wake of the internet revolution will continue its bumpy ride through Parliament on Monday.

Peers will continue debating amendments to the Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Bill, which they have threatened to defeat unless changes are made.

The bill has received widespread criticism from civil rights groups who fear it will breach privacy by enabling the security services to tap emails and other new forms of electronic communication.

Business fears costs

Business too has come out against the bill. An independent report commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce has predicted that the bill's measures would drive e-commerce firms overseas.

If passed it would place burdens on business by requiring internet service providers to allow the police and MI5 to tap emails.

The bill would also see companies forced to surrender the codes to encrypted documents transferred over the net.

The Liberal Democrats have led the charge against the bill in Parliament with Lord McNally saying last week: "We will certainly press the government to justify itself and, if necessary, defeat them where we think they are being over-regulatory or putting unfair costs."

Defending its plans, the government says the bill does not give any new powers to the security services, but simply allows them to continue the fight against organised crime which is now taking advantage of new technology.

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See also:

16 Jun 00 | Talking Point
Is net surveillance prying or policing?
07 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Computer crime plans attacked
25 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Watching while you surf
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