ICO: Government shouldn’t collect all comms data

The Information Commissioner's Office has said that fighting crime is not sufficient justification for the collection of all communications data from companies like ISPs.

Proposals from the Home Office under its Interception Modernisation Programme' would mean that law enforcement agencies could access electronic data kept by communication service providers (CSPs) for the purposes of fighting crime.

The ICO said in a statement that although it recognised that comms data was very valuable in preventing and detecting crime as well as the prosecution of offenders, it wasn't a good enough reason to collect all data from all CSPs and their subscribers.

It said that it was concerned about the distinction that needed to be made between traffic and content data, and that there were possible gaps in legislation that could affect the rights of individuals as well as the roles and responsibilities of CSPs.

However, the ICO said it was pleased that the government had scrapped plans on storing all data in a single database, and that it was being kept informed about the development of the programme.