|Electronic Communications Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Part III: Licence Modification Procedure
Note: [*A*] denotes a situation in which an appeal can be made.
Clause 11: Appeals against modifications without the licensee's consent65. This Clause provides an appeal against licence modification proposals. Since the provisions of Clause 10 give the DGT new powers to modify licences even when there are objections raised by relevant licensees, there is now to be a balancing right of appeal on wider grounds than the normal grounds for judicial review. Clause 11 inserts a new section 12B into the 1984 Act, setting out the mechanism by which such an appeal can be made.
Clause 13: Prohibition on key escrow requirements66. This Clause limits the powers given by this Bill to any Minister of the Crown, Scottish Minister, or any person appointed under section 3, such that these powers may not impose requirements on a person to deposit a key for electronic data with any person or otherwise make the key available. Subsection (3) defines a key for the purposes of this clause, making use of the definition of being put into an intelligible form given in Clause 14 (3).
Clause 14: General interpretation67. This Clause provides for the interpretation of various terms used throughout the Bill. 68. Subsection (1) inter alia defines:
electronic communication to mean a communication transmitted (whether from one person to another, from one device to another or from a person to a device or vice versa) by means of a telecommunication system (within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act 1984), or by other means but while in an electronic form.
Section 4(1) of the Telecommunications Act 1984 says * In this Act telecommunications system means a system for the conveyance, through the agency of electric, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electro-chemical or electro-mechanical energy of-
subordinate legislation as having the same meaning as in the Interpretation Act 1978, and also including corresponding secondary legislation made under Acts of the Scottish Parliament and certain statutory rules in Northern Ireland.
Clause 15: Short title, commencement, extent69. Subsection (2) allows the Secretary of State to commence Part 1, and clauses 7, 10 and 11 on such days as he may appoint. Different days may be appointed for different purposes. Subsection (3) provides that Part I is repealed if it has not been commenced within 5 years of Royal Assent.
FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL70. If Part I is commenced and the approvals scheme is set up, there may be some initial impact on public expenditure relating to start-up costs, but the Government intends that the fees paid would cover the start-up costs and the costs of running the scheme. Part II should result in savings as Government Departments modernise their dealings with business and the public, by making better use of e-commerce technologies. The provisions in Part III will not impact on public expenditure.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER71. The statutory approvals scheme would probably result in a small increase in manpower. The powers in Part II to permit electronic communication with Government could result in manpower savings in the longer term. The provisions on telecommunications licences will have no significant impact on manpower.
SUMMARY OF THE REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Electronic Commerce72. The provisions in Part II of the Bill are expected to lead to substantial savings for business in transacting with Government.
Cryptography Services Providers73. The statutory approvals scheme for cryptography service providers would, if implemented, be voluntary: whether or not a company seeks approval will be a business decision for it. Only those companies in the specialised sector of providing cryptography services will be directly affected. The precise cost of approval will depend on the nature of the services a company may wish to be approved for and the scale of their business. A possible estimate would be between £10,000 and £30,000 for a medium sized company seeking approval for the issue of certificates. On the basis of the number of bodies which are likely to seek approval in the first year of any such scheme, the total cost to industry would be no more than £500,000. In deciding whether to seek approval a company would need to take account of the additional revenues which being approved might bring.
Telecommunications Licences74. The proposals on telecommunications licences principally impact only on those telecommunications operators who have individual licences. They will enable licence modifications which command general, though not unanimous, support in the industry, or those which are deregulatory, to be implemented without the need for a complex and expensive Competition Commission enquiry. The precise impact of these proposals will depend upon the nature of the modifications which may from time to time be proposed by Oftel, but the overall impact is likely to be deregulatory. 75. The Regulatory Impact Assessment of the costs and benefits of the Bill is available on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/cii or from David Lee on 0207 215 1435.
COMMENCEMENT76. The Government will commence Part I and set up the statutory scheme, only if self-regulation does not work. The Government will inform Parliament on how self-regulation is developing during the passage of the Bill. The remainder of the Bill will come into effect on the date of Royal Assent.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS77. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Conventions rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). On 19 November the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made the following statement when publishing this Bill in the House of Commons:
In my view the provisions of the Electronic Communications Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.
Extract from the Telecommunications Act 1984 showing words inserted at Section 12 by the Bill; it also shows other amendments made by the Bill (not highlighted)
Modification of licence conditions by agreement.
12 (1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, the Director may modify the conditions of a licence granted under section 7 above.
(2) Before making modifications under this section, the Director shall give notice-
(3) A notice under subsection (2) above shall be given by publication in such manner as the Director considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters to which the notice relates to the attention of persons likely to be affected by them and, in the case of a licence granted to a particular person, by sending a copy of the notice to every relevant licensee.
(4) Delete existing subsection and replace with:
|(5) The Director shall also send a copy of a notice under subsection (2) above to the Secretary of State; and if, within the time specified in the notice, the Secretary of State directs the Director not to make any modification, the Director shall comply with the direction.|
(6) The Secretary of State shall not give a direction under subsection (5) above unless-
|© Parliamentary copyright 1999||Prepared: 19 November 1999|