GCHQ email monitoring plans should force all firms to review data policies

The government's plans for a new law allowing intelligence officers real-time access to communications data should prompt all organisations to review their data policies, according to an IDC analyst.

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The government's plans for a new law allowing intelligence officers real-time access to communications data should prompt all organisations to review their data policies, according to an IDC analyst.

Alys Woodward, research director at IDC, believes that any new legislation involving data will inevitably lead to some companies reviewing their policies on how customer data is handled.

"Organisations should consider what they are doing with customer information – are they selling the information to all and sundry?

"Organisations could be forced to think 'we need to watch our reputation. We don't want to be in the press as people being careless with our mailing lists'," she said.

Meanwhile, Woodward suggested that the new legislation could open the door for Big Data technologies if the government requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecommunication companies to implement the sophisticated technology required to filter communications data and identify criminal activity in real time.

"It is doable to look at [this data] in real time – with Big Data architecture – but it is a big challenge. There is almost certainly going to be pushback [from ISPs] saying 'how much is this going to cost us?'" she said.

But she added that if telcos are required to make this investment in such technologies themselves, they may be able to derive their own business opportunities from it as well.

"They [telcos] already do this with location-based services. We would see more of that," said Woodward.

NOW READ: Do GCHQ email monitoring plans open doors for Big Data technology? 

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