Tom Harris MP

Tom Harris MP (Labour) MP for Glasgow South. Member of the All Party Internet Group. He worked as a reporter before entering parliament in 2001.

My blog, "And another thing...", was shorter lived than I had anticipated. Trying to fit in all my responsibilities as an MP and as a transport minister didn't quite allow for stuff like keeping a blog up to date, having a social life, etc.


Computer Misuse Act

Tom used the 10-minute Rule to introduce a new Bill to strengthen the law dealing with computer criminals. Although the intent of the bill was widely welcomed there where objections to the wording being over broad from the computing community.

Tom subsequently withdrew this Bill after the government gave an undertaking to incorporate its provisions in one of its own pieces of legislation the Police and Justice Bill 2006, thereby guaranteeing that it made it onto the statute book.

Electronic Voting

House of Commons debate Additional provisions in respect of electronic voting 16 December 2003

Is the hon. Gentleman's opposition to e-voting solely related to the Bill or is it a point of principle with no time limit? In other words, is he simply opposed to e-voting? The reason for my question is this: since the congestion charge was introduced I have regularly paid it by text, which is a fantastically accurate and efficient system, and I imagine that at some point in the future—not next year, but within the next 10 years or so—most people will think that is a perfectly natural way of casting their vote.

Identity cards

Tom took part in the second reading debate on identity cards, supporting the government's position. 28 June 2005

...ID cards are not a panacea and never will be. They will not provide foolproof defence against terrorism, identity theft and other crime, or health tourism. However, they represent a sensible and moderate proposal and will be one of a range of tools at the disposal of the Government to deal with all those matters.
The right hon. Gentleman said, on the one hand, that ID cards would not be effective. On the other, he said that the Government were promising surveillance from the cradle to the grave. What is the Conservatives' main reason for opposing the Bill? Is it because ID cards will work or because they will not work? It is always a cheap political trick to raise the spectre of Orwell in comparison with Britain today. Those people who say that Britain is turning into Orwell's "1984" are usually those who have not read the book.
The Government have absolutely no intention of providing surveillance from the cradle to the grave. That is exactly the type of allegation that finds its way into the public domain. Members of the public end up believing that kind of nonsense instead of concentrating on the content of the Bill.

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information: Harris offers guarantee 23 May 2007

"The media have made great play in recent days of how Maclean’s Bill would undermine the existing legislation. However, they haven’t paid too much attention to the genuine concerns that many of us have about how the existing Act is in danger of compromising the relationship between MPs and our constituents.
"A leaflet published by the House of Commons in December 2005 makes it absolutely clear that constituents’ correspondence can be revealed without their consent under the FoI regime.
"Nevertheless, I recognise public concern in this area.
"I want to reassure members that, whether or not this Bill becomes law, I will make sure my own expenses and allowance claims will continue to be published annually in exactly the same way as they have been up until now."



2006-03-13 - BBC - How to legislate against hackers
Author: Bill Thompson
Summary: If all goes to plan then we will soon have a new Police and Justice Act. It makes many changes to the criminal law, but anyone considering writing a virus, hacking a bank system, launching a phishing or Denial-of-service attack or installing some of the dodgier tools that can be used to 'test' network security should pay particular attention to clauses 33 to 36. These amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act ...
2006-03-07 - BBC - Tougher hacking laws get support
Summary: Both the Tories and Lib Dems have backed government measures to increase penalties for UK computer hackers. Anyone hacking a computer could be punished with 10 years' imprisonment under new laws.
2006-01-27 - eGov monitor - Tom Harris MP's measures to get tough on cyber-crime get full government support
Author: Tom Harris MP
Summary: The government has given its full support to Tom Harris MP’s measures to get tough on cyber-crime. The proposals contained within Tom Harris MP’s Private Member’s Bill to amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act (CMA) have now been included in the government’s Police and Justice Bill, which was introduced to the House yesterday.
2006-01-26 - BBC - Law to clamp down on cyber crime
Summary: Proposals to strengthen the law against computer crime - put forward by Labour MP Tom Harris - have been included in a new bill going through Parliament. Mr Harris sought to make all forms of interfering with a computer a crime and to increase sentences for hackers.
2005-07-15 - The Register - Another pitch to Parliament for Denial of Service law
Summary: Tom Harris MP presented a bill to Parliament that would amend the UK's 15-year-old cybercrime law to confirm that denial of service attacks are illegal. A similar bill was pitched in March but was defeated by the timetable for the general election.
2005-06-13 - The Register - Leave hacker scum to rot, says MP
Author: John Oates
Summary: Glasgow South MP Tom Harris used a Ten Minute Rule Bill yesterday to push for big increases in maximum sentences for those convicted of hacking and denial of service attacks.
2005-06-12 - BBC - Penalty plea on cyber criminals
Summary: Labour's Tom Harris wants there to be a specific law forbidding "denial of service attacks" where computer systems are bombarded to make them crash. ... "The current levels of sentences do not reflect the seriousness of such offences," said Tom Harris.