House of Lords committee to re-open e-crime inquiry

An influential House of Lords committee is to re-open an inquiry into e-crime and the security of personal data on the internet after members of the committee branded the government’s reactions to its recommendations as “vacuous, idle and irrelevant”.

Personnel Today’s sister publication, Computer Weekly, reports that Lords Science and Technology Committee called for new laws to require businesses to encrypt personal data, report security breaches to their customers and make suppliers liable for damage caused by flaws in their software, in a controversial report in August.

But members said the government’s “complacent” attitude to its recommendations, along with a string of high-profile data breaches, meant they had no choice but to call civil servants back for questioning. They plan to grill civil servants on their “inadequate” response and are threatening to summon ministers to answer questions.

“IT communication and business is going to be at the heart of commerce for decades to come. We have got to get a grip of it now. The government’s response to our suggestions was vacuous, idle and irrelevant,” said Lord O’Neill, committee member.

The committee said the recent security breaches showed that the government and business need to take action to protect the public’s personal data and to reduce the impact of e-crime.

“We want to shake things up so we are not in this position in a year’s time,” said Lord Errol.

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