BCS calls for reckless data disclosure to be made a criminal offence

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, says it should be a criminal offence if a professional designs and implements a system to store website history and fails to appropriately protect access to that data through the use of good practice in information security.

The call comes following a BCS survey found that 85% of IT professionals backed the move.

BCS is now urging Government to fully explore whether reckless disclosure of the public’s data should be included as a criminal offence in the Investigatory Powers Bill presented by the Home Secretary.


Difference of opinion

BCS’ research revealed, for the first time, how significant the disparity in views are between the general public and IT professionals when it comes to surveillance. A total of 54% of British adults feel very or fairly comfortable with the security services and police having access to their website history, according to findings from a YouGov UK online survey, compared to just 35% of IT professionals who feel very or fairly comfortable.

David Evans, Director of Policy at the Institute explained: “We can and we must create systems which by default protect against misuse. In an area of critical national importance, it would be reckless and inexcusable for individuals to design data systems which created unnecessary risks to the public, where those risks could have been prevented through known techniques. We believe a double lock to protect against misuse of data would provide greater assurance for the public in how their information is managed in the process of protecting against serious crime.”

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