Vernon Coaker MP

Vernon Coaker MP (Labour) Labour MP for Gedling. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Office. Before taking up his post at the Home Office, Mr Coaker was a government whip, from June 2003. MP since 1997. Before becoming an MP, Vernon Coaker was Deputy Headteacher at Bigwood School in Nottingham. He studied for an economics and politics at the University of Warwick.


Communications Capabilities Development Programme

Bill Committee, Clause 47, Protections of Freedom Bill Inception Modernisation 26 April 2011

So far this is the third inquiry that I have asked for. I say to the hon. Lady that at least with an independent inquiry we are trying to legislate on the basis of evidence and on what we are being told. We have seen from the independent inquiries that have been rejected by the Government, that on a whole range of issues they have legislated on the basis of perception, or of what they think should be done, rather than on the basis of evidence. An independent inquiry would provide the evidence and the facts that we need in order to legislate—instead of acting in haste. Let me have a quiet bet with the hon. Lady—I predict that next year or in 18 months’ time, the Government will be back amending aspects of the Bill because it has not worked out as they thought it would and because they had not thought through all the various issues.
The other point that I keep making about the independent inquiry—I am surprised at the Liberal members of the coalition—is that it is a missed opportunity for the Government. If they so wanted, they could have moved forward in a much more radical way. Instead of that, we have a Christmas tree Bill with huge numbers of subsections. It has a bit dealing with that and a bit dealing with this, so that the Government can say that in many respects they are dealing with the protection of freedom. Yet on a whole range of issues, the Bill is silent. We will return on Report to another matter that it is silent about—the intercept modernisation programme. That was one of the biggest things that we were criticised for, but the Government are carrying it forward apace

Question asked Telecommunications: Databases 4 March 2011

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department has made on the Intercept Modernisation Programme; and if she will make a statement.



2007-08-10 - OUT-LAW - Lords call for ethical hacker protection and security-breach notification law
Summary: The Government must stop changes to an anti-hacking law criminalising the work of security researchers, a House of Lords Committee has said. If it does not, internet security could become an even bigger danger because 'ethical hacking' will be illegal. The Lords Science and Technology Committee has produced a report on internet security which says that recent changes in the law make keeping the internet safe harder than ever. "Legitimate security researchers are at risk of being criminalised as a result of the recent amendments to the Computer Misuse Act," said the report. The Committee said that Home Office minister Vernon Coaker MP had promised to clarify the law to exempt researchers in the coming weeks." "We welcome the Minister’s assurance that guidance on this point will appear later in the summer, but urge the Crown Prosecution Service to publish this guidance as soon as possible, so as to avoid undermining such research in the interim," it said.
2007-01-18 - OUT-LAW - Serious Crime Bill expands data sharing powers
Summary: The Home Office has extended the powers of the UK Government to share information on citizens between departments and agencies and with the private sector. The measures are contained in the just-published Serious Crime Bill. Opponents to the plans argue that it will permit massive snooping exercises by Government which are not the result of specific suspicions or inquiries. ... The Government defended its move against accusations that it was eroding civil liberties. "We are committed to providing the best possible tools for our law enforcement agencies to ensure they stay one step ahead of those who commit serious crime and these tough new measures will strengthen their ability to crack down on criminals and disrupt their operations," said Home Office minister Vernon Coaker.
2006-12-29 - The Register - IWF reforms could pave way for UK net censorship
Author: Wendy M Grossman
Summary: By the end of 2007, the Home Office intends that all ISPs "offering broadband internet connectivity to the UK public" will have implemented systems for content blocking, primarily intended to block access to pornographic images of children, which are illegal to view or possess in the UK. Vernon Coaker, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, noted in an answer to a Parliamentary question in June that if the target is not achieved the government might consider legislation. No one in the industry can even guess at how much it will cost ISPs overall, and it is not even entirely clear what's meant by "public".
2006-12-21 - OUT-LAW - Online criminals threatened with sex offenders' register
Summary: Internet and email users can be added to the sex offenders' register for a whole slew of new offences after the Home Office drastically increased the number of relevant offences. ... Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said that the expansion was a question of protecting the public. "The offences may not seem inherently sexual, but could have had a sexual motive," said Coaker. "These changes are necessary to strengthen the monitoring and management of sex offenders."
2006-09-20 - The Register - Internet safety talks for UK kids
Author: Kelly Fiveash
Summary: The government has announced plans for an internet safety campaign for secondary school children across Britain in a move that is hoped to crack down on child sex abuse. ... Government minister Vernon Coaker said: "Raising awareness by arming children and their parents with good practical advice is key if we are to win the battle against child sex offenders."
2006-08-31 - OUT-LAW - Britain to ban violent and extreme porn
Summary: Downloading or possessing violent and extreme pornographic material will become a criminal offence in the UK punishable by up to three years in prison under proposed new laws, believed to be the first of their kind in a western nation. ... Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said the proposals had the support of various organisations, including women's and children's groups and police forces. In addition, a petition signed by around 50,000 people objecting to extreme internet sites promoting violence against women in the name of sexual gratification was presented to Parliament. "The vast majority of people find these forms of violent and extreme pornography deeply abhorrent," he said.
2006-07-20 - OUT-LAW - Child abuse website takedown delays can take years
Author: John Leyden
Summary: Only one in 500 (0.2 per cent) of child abuse images on the net are hosted in the UK, down from 18 per cent in 1997. That's according to a half-yearly study from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) which found that paedophile sites hosted overseas remain accessible for up to five years despite being reported to the relevant authorities. ... Vernon Coaker MP, under-secretary for policing, security and community safety at the Home Office, said: "UK Ministers continue to press for greater action at an international level, but this report underlines the importance of the work the IWF and ISPs are doing to block all UK residents from accessing websites, wherever they are hosted, identified as potentially illegal by the IWF by the end of 2007. "It is crucial to raise awareness among UK internet users about the IWF as the vehicle to report their inadvertent exposure to this type of content," he added.
2006-05-26 - The Register - SOCA saves UK high-tech crime unit - offline
Author: John Lettice
Summary: Concerns that the work of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) could be lost in the transfer process to SOCA, the newly formed Serious Organised Crime Agency, are clearly misplaced, if an answer to a Parliamentary question earlier this week is to be believed. ... Asked by Margaret Moran MP "whether he plans to replace the contact service formerly provided via the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit website", Vernon Coaker, Home Office Under-Secretary i/c policing etc, responded: "The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), as part of the National Crime Squad, became part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on 1 April 2006 and now operates under the title of SOCA e-Crime." "The NHTCU was never a crime recording centre and always requested members of the public to contact their local police force. The NHTCU provided a website that contained a great deal of advice relating to harm reduction and awareness surrounding the use of computers and the internet. The content of the website has been saved and discussion is ongoing as to the most appropriate location for this to be available. Organisations and members of the public who wish to report a crime should continue to contact their local police force in the normal way."
2006-05-22 - OUT-LAW - ISPs to be pressured to block child porn
Summary: ISPs would be required "to declare publicly whether or not they have taken, or are taking, appropriate technical steps to block access to web sites that contain child pornography" under a new law which has had its second reading in the House of Commons. If passed, the Control of Internet Access (Child Pornography) Act would require every ISP to declare in its annual report and on its website whether it is actively pursuing measures to prevent its customers from obtaining access to known child pornography websites. It would stop short of compelling an ISP to block access. ... on the 15th May 2005, the Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary Vernon Coaker suggested that if ISPs do not voluntarily block child porn by the end of next year, the Government will consider taking further action. Coaker was answering a written question from Sian James, Labour MP for Swansea East, on what progress has been made by the Government with ISPs in preventing access to child porn. Coaker pointed to a reduction in the proportion of illegal sites reported to the IWF that are hosted in the UK, from 18% in 1997 to 0.4% in 2005. And of blacklisting by providers, Coaker said that all 3G mobile network operators currently block their mobile customers from accessing known illegal sites and the biggest ISPs (who between them provide over 90% of domestic broadband connections) are either currently blocking or have plans to by the end of 2006. "We recognise the progress that has been made as a result of the industry's commitment and investment so far," said Coaker. "However, 90% of connections is not enough and we are setting a target that by the end of 2007, all ISPs offering broadband internet connectivity to the UK general public put in place technical measures that prevent their customers accessing websites containing illegal images of child abuse identified by the IWF." He said that for new ISPs or services, "we would expect them to put in place measures within nine months of offering the service to the public." He added, "If it appears that we are not going to meet our target through co-operation, we will review the options for stopping UK residents accessing websites on the IWF list."
2006-05-18 - The Register - Govt sets target for blocking child porn sites
Author: Mark Ballard
Summary: The government has given internet service providers until 2008 to block all access to websites containing illegal images of child abuse listed by the Internet Watch Foundation. In a Parliamentary written answer on 15 May, Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said progress had been made, but hinted that if the last paedophile services were not snuffed out of circulation soon the government might take steps itself to block people accessing them.