Lord Phillips of Sudbury (Liberal Democrat)
Against the ID card Bill
House of Lords debate Identity Cards Bill 31 October 2005
- The Bill may have only 43 pages—short by modern standards—but it is dauntingly complicated and impenetrable. To that extent, it is apt to be counter-productive, as was the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and will, rightly, heighten citizen anxiety and suspicion.
- Before going any further, I commend the work done on the Bill by the House of Lords Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the many organisations outside the House that have given great thought to its provisions. I chaired the distinguished advisory committee convened by Liberty, and its work as well as that of Justice deserves the highest praise, as does that of the Law Society, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, NO2ID and the London School of Economics.
The speech continues and provides a very long and very detailed examination of the problems of the bill.
- "it is apt to be counter-productive, as was the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000"
House of Lords debate Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill 4 December 2001
- I should pay tribute to the great deal of help which we on this side of the Committee have received from the Foundation for Information Policy Research and the Internet Service Providers Association. Both those organisations are steeped in the intricacies of this strange world.
- As drafted, the clause would compel the keeping or retaining of data not just to communications providers under the Bill, sometimes called Internet service providers and telephone companies, but to anyone with a computer utilising software providing any kind of service, commercial or not. That would include a web server, file sharing software, and so-called Xpeer-to-peer" networking. Peer-to-peer networking is not the kind of thing Members of this House do for many hours a day in the many nooks and crannies of this wonderful building, quaffing and talking, although it is the same spelling. Peer-to-peer networking involves computing devices which talk directly to one another without a central computer controlling that communication. Devices used in peer-to-peer communications, which is known in the trade as P2P, can include not only desk-top computers but also PDAs, palm or hand-held computers, corporate workstations or even cell phones. Hooking up computers by P2P connections is a critical step for the future of computing generally. That is the importance of this apparently small amendment.
- For many years, computer users had to dump their information into a central data base before anyone else could use it. But with P2P networking, users can share on a one-to-one basis as data is generated, rather than waiting for central data bases to be updated, therefore allowing for more accurate and time-sensitive decisions. For example, a PC user with the right permissions could check on his co-worker's laptop to see whether a particular file existed. P2P networking is also becoming vital to collaboration between workers and has, I am told and believe, huge potential commercial application. Through direct computer-to-computer collaboration, users can share files easily and message each other as they do so. These functions, which help to duplicate the environment of an in-person meeting, are extremely helpful to companies as workers spread out across the country and the globe.
- For consumers P2P networking is an irreplaceable tool for global knowledge-sharing and media distribution and makes it possible for users to have quick and easy access to entertainment and software cheaply relayed to each other's computers at a price that cannot be matched in the outside world. It also helps users to share information, files and research that they cannot find elsewhere. That is the purpose of inserting Xpublic" in the two places in the Bill. I should be interested to know whether the Government have any objection to these proposals. I beg to move.
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