British Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is holding a speech today to call for reform in the fields of cyber security and privacy in an effort to help law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but also to protect citizens’ interests.
Cooper, a member of the Labour Party, says technological advancements are beneficial for society and the economy. However, they also bring challenges, such as online fraud and child abuse.
She believes reform is needed to enable the police, and security and intelligence agencies to better tackle these issues, but also to respond to the increasing use of the Web by extremists, terrorists and serious criminals.
Cooper believes current oversight and legal frameworks are out of date, and proposes that the UK follows the example of US President Barack Obama.
“This digital revolution brings liberation, but also new challenges. Alongside the wonderful opportunities for communication, knowledge and business, come new forms of abuse and crime,” the politician said.
“And alongside the explosion in access to knowledge come new questions about data storage and access. Attitudes are changing too. Public debate, corporate practice, the law and government policy are all struggling to keep up with the pace of change,” she added.
The list of reforms proposed by Cooper includes a new national strategy for tackling online fraud, stronger action against child abuse, a review of the 2000 RIPA Act to ensure the law is up to date with challenges of the digital age, and a debate about how to protect privacy and British citizens’ interests.
She also proposes reforming Parliamentary oversight by adding technological expertise and other resources to the Intelligence and Security Committee in an effort to strengthen it.
Non-Parliamentary oversight should also be reformed, according to Cooper. As a positive example, she provides the Inspect General of Australia, which has greater flexibility, thoroughness and independence.
“The oversight and legal frameworks are now out of date. That means we need major reforms to oversight and a thorough review of the legal framework to keep up with changing technology,” Cooper said.
“And there are difficult wider challenges about privacy, data and the private sector, and how we protect British citizens’ interests in a global internet where everyone follows different rules,” she added.
“Above all we need the Government to engage in a serious public debate about these new challenges and the reforms that are needed. Online communication and technology is forcing us to think again about our traditional frameworks for balancing privacy and safety, liberty and security.”