regulation of access to communications data.
The draft order, which was due to be debated in the house of commons
David Blunkett said:
'I recognise there is widespread concern about the current proposals
to regulate how public bodies can access phone and internet records.
'It's clear that whilst we want to provide greater security, clarity
and regulation to activities that already go on, our plans have been
understood as having the opposite effect. Bob Ainsworth and I have
therefore decided that it makes sense to withdraw the current
proposals to allow calmer and lengthy public discussion before we
bring forward new plans in this field. This will not affect the
police and security services who will continue to operate in the
usual way under current arrangements.
'However, we need a much broader debate about other public bodies
involved in this area, particularly given that none of them have
joined the debate over the last week to make clear the problems they
face without government legislating.
'Mobile phone and internet usage has grown enormously in the last
five years, bringing a whole new world of communications. The
reaction to our plans has shown that we need a much broader public
debate about how to strike the balance between the privacy of the
citizen and society's legitimate need for measures to support the
investigation of crime and to protect the public. We must also
remember the considerable safeguards provided to the public by the
Data Protection Acts.
'Despite being in public life, I value my own privacy and understand
these sensitivies. The time has come for a much broader public debate
about how we effectively regulate modern communications and strike
the balance between the privacy of the individual and the need to
ensure our laws and society are upheld.'
Home office minister Bob Ainsworth said:
'This is an important debate for the country to have. Everyone agrees
we need to uphold the law while ensuring communication services
providers know where they stand when asked for information. We
recognise public concern and are determined to get the balance
* The order that has been withdrawn is the addition of public
authorities to Part 1 Chapter 2 of RIPA, (Access to Communications