Don't ignore the EU, warns House of Lords

The Earl Of Erroll, Independent Crossbench Peer at the House of Lords, has urged the public sector to take note of changing EU laws surrounding online business.

The Earl, the former Merlin Hay, joined the House of Lords in 1978 and has served on the IT Committee, Science and Technology Sub-Committee and Library and Computers Sub-Committee.

Speaking at Whitehall Media’s GovSec event last week, Lord Erroll spoke about the influence that the Digital Single Market Agenda will have – the idea that organisations should be able to do business throughout Europe not only by visiting countries but also over the Internet.

According to the Earl, various things are needed before such an agenda can be achieved, including some mutual interoperability of electronic identity and trust services.

“We are living in an electronic world and you need to start bringing yourself up to speed,” he told the audience, after explaining it will be legally binding to accept electronic ID in certain circumstances in the future.

Lord Erroll claims that ID and seamless online business present some issues - although there needs to be methods of verifying someone’s identity online effectively, it shouldn’t be a case of tracking someone’s every move.

“We Must Preserve Privacy And Trust”

For the Earl, privacy and trust are essential factors in building a scheme that works, but trust especially does not translate well into the online world.

He said certain questions must be asked: how is this actually going to work? How do we protect ourselves? How do you verify someone’s age but also preserve privacy?

“The general data protection regulations coming out of Europe, we’re not there yet, but you need to start thinking about how you’re going to react to it because you’re going to get something somewhere into the next two to three years,” claimed Lord Erroll.

Despite government and public sector not being corporate bodies, the new regulations will still apply to them because they do because with large corporate entities.

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