Internet and tech in the Queen's Speech

Today's Queen's Speech was not short on content impacting Tibus' stomping ground of internet, hosting, connectivity and technology. Here are some of the key talking points.

Posted on 27 May 2015 - Government
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Cyber attacks

"My government will work to reduce the threat from [...] cyber attacks."

Perhaps the part of the Queen's Speech that most most relevant to matters we've discussed in the past was the assertion that the government will work to reduce the threat from cyber attacks. That was the extent of the detail so we have little idea at this stage how the government proposes to do that. Let's hope those ill-advised pre-election ideas of banning SSL aren't involved in any way. The mention of cyber attacks was bundled together with threats from "nuclear weapons [...] and terrorism", so perhaps David Cameron has got the hacking work of nation states and fundamentalist organisations in his crosshairs rather than Anonymous or Lizard Squad.

Snoopers' Charter

"New legislation will modernise the law on communications data."

The so-called Snoopers’ Charter is back after a failed attempt to turn it into legislation in 2012. It is now called the investigatory powers bill. Briefing from Downing Street said the bill would give authorities - police and other security services - "the tools to keep you and your family safe". That is likely to entail internet service providers collecting and storing a lot more information about our online activity. As well as the inevitable arguments over civil liberties and privacy, this also raises the question of securing from cyber attacks the masses of valuable and potential compromising data that would be collected.


"Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion and protect people by tackling extremism."

That might not sound very tech-related, but later briefing confirmed that the extremism bill would include measures to “strengthen the role of Ofcom so that tough measures can be taken against channels that broadcast extremist content”. In practice, that could mean a crackdown on internet service providers, social media platforms, maybe even hosting companies that fail to prevent "extremist" views being published via their product or service. How do you define "extremist"? That can of worms can be opened another day.