Legal expert voices internet concerns

How will monitoring of communications be carried out in the future? TJ McIntye has legitimate concens:

…the chairman of Digital Rights Ireland, T J McIntyre, who has written to a number of Senators drawing attention to problems with the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill, currently before the Oireachtas.

Mr McIntyre said the Bill, which seeks to fit requests for assistance from other states into the existing Irish legal framework based on the 1993 Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act, is not sufficient.

He said the Act deals with an interception regime rooted in an era when we only had Telecom Éireann. While other licensed operators were added following deregulation, not all are covered.

“Webmail [ such as Gmail or Hotmail], Voice-over IP [ such as Skype] and Instant Messaging Services [ such as AOL Instant Messenger] would appear to fall into this category,” he said.

Another problem with the 1993 Act was that it covered the message being transmitted – not when it reached its destination, he added.

Messages that had been opened, and remained in e-mail inboxes, or voicemail messages, would appear not to be protected.

This situation appeared to breach an EU directive which requires the interception of citizens’ personal communications to be regulated by legislative measures “necessary, appropriate and proportionate within a democratic society”, he said.