New Email laws

New laws coming into effect in March 2009 as part of a European Commission directive have caused some mixed reactions across the business community. The proposed new anti-terrorist legislation, put forward by the Home Office states that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will have to record each and every email sent or received in the UK for up to a year.

The Home Office insists that this new law (first proposed by then Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2001) will provide the police and security services with vital information for the war on terror and the fight against crime – despite the fact that the content of emails will not be stored. Once this law has passed, over 600 public bodies, including the police and local councils, will be able to request details of when and by whom emails were sent.

In order to get this system off the ground, the government may have to support Internet Service Providers with up to £70m of funding.