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Queen’s speech promises new legislation on copyright, consumer rights and “IP address matching”

Posted by malcolm on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at 17:11

The Queen’s gave her 2013 speech at the opening of Parliament this morning.

The Queen’s speech did not contain any explicit mention of the Communications Data Bill, but did make reference to proposals aimed at making it easier for law enforcement to match IP addresses to individuals.

My government will continue to reduce crime and protect national security. Legislation will be introduced to reform the way in which offenders are rehabilitated in England and Wales.

Legislation will be brought forward to introduce new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, cut crime and further reform the police.

In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol addresses, my government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace.

The government provides more details in the briefing notes on the Queen’s Speech:

[IP] addresses are generally shared between a number of people. In order to know who has actually sent an email or made a Skype call, the police need to know who used a certain IP address at a given point in time. Without this, if a suspect used the internet to communicate instead of making a phone call, it may not be possible for the police to identify them.

The Government is looking at ways of addressing this issue with CSPs. It may involve legislation.

Commentators have linked these proposals to comments made by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in April, suggesting that the government could be considering some sort of intervention relating to IPv6 adoption.

Right now, there are not enough IP addresses to go round for all of the devices being used. Temporary addresses are attached to computers and phones while they are online, but the records of these are patchy, which means they cannot easily be matched back to individuals.

The police say a clearer picture would be a huge help in their investigations and we should explore how that can be done.
— Nick Clegg, writing in The Telegraph

LINX understands that this most likely relates to ensuring that the introduction of Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGN) does not undermine the effectiveness of the existing data retention regulations, by requiring the retention of port numbers where necessary to maintain traceability.

New copyright enforcement measures are also on the horizon.

A bill will be introduced to reduce the burden of excessive regulation on businesses. A further bill will make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property.

According to the government, the Intellectual Property Bill will implement a number of changes, including “implementing a Unified Patent Court”, creating criminal penalties for infringement of UK registered design rights, and “making design ownership clearer to encourage trade in design intangible assets and reduce costs for business”.

In addition, a Draft Consumer Rights Bill will be proposed in order to “update the law to take account of purchases of digital content”.

For more information, see the Queen’s speech 2013 – full text and briefing notes.

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