THE LORD Chancellor's Department is guilty of “chronic complacency” over the future impact the information superhighway may have on UK law, says Labour.
Concern emerged after a written answer to a Parliamentary question tabled by Paul Boateng MP, Labour's legal affairs spokesman, to LCD Parliamentary secretary John Taylor MP.
Taylor replied that “no officials in my department are currently involved in research into these issues. I have no immediate plans to change this”.
But repercussions of the Internet on the legal system may force substantial changes to the rules on evidence, says Labour.
Other affected areas may include privacy, defamation, har-assment, and data protection.
Boateng says: “The Government is failing to prevent the serious difficulties for individual citizens and companies that could arise from loopholes in current British law. People using the Internet are also at risk of unwittingly breaking existing laws because they have not been revised.”
Taylor's answer also confirms fears that the UK Government will not liaise with the US, where the Internet is most advanced, other EU member states and the EU Parliament.
Many EU countries are monitoring the development of the Internet and are already drawing up plans for comprehensive reforms to protect the rights of individuals and businesses, says Boateng. “The chronic complacency of the LCD beggars belief.”