The price of snooping

One the the huge unknowns aspects of the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill is the cost of compliance.

The unknowns for ISPs are the data that is to be generated and recorded, and which ISPs will be targeted. Nobody knows exactly what is intended now, and what could be asked for later once in law.

At present the bill simply requires a "non-zero contribution" to the costs. Why the hell say "non-zero" in the law, that is nonsense, as paying 1p would meet it and be the same as zero for all practical purposes. It is a stupid thing to say.

The Science and Technology Committee has now reported, and has made some good points. But one of the key points is :-

"The Government should reconsider its reluctance for including in the Bill an explicit commitment that Government will pay the full costs incurred by compliance."

This is important and saying that ISPs should indeed get paid for providing this service.

And let's be clear here, this is a service we are being asked to provide if the bill goes through.

When the police buy toner for their photocopier, do they make a "non-zero contribution" to the cost of that toner? No... Do they pay the cost price for that toner? No, they pay a commercial rate for the toner and the supplier gets to run a business and make a profit.

Everyone supplying goods and services to law enforcement does so on a normal commercial basis as a business.

It seems ludicrous to say that ISPs are somehow special and should provide a valuable and costly service without being paid a proper normal commercial rate for that service. Saying they have to provide it "at cost" is crazy, as it saying that they should get even less as a "contribution".

I really cannot see why this is even an issue. Or do we all feel that every service supplier to law enforcement should provide the service at no profit at all, or below cost - effectively conscripting us all in to law enforcement?

1 comment:

  1. When/if you become a law enforcement conscript - can you do something positive about dog fouling please? :)


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