The UK government, the Bank of England, and the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) are discussing a law proposal that will exonerate banks from refunding online fraud victims that don’t take precautionary measures to protect their bank accounts.

The proposal is still under discussions, as The Financial Times reported today, and consumer rights groups have already heavily criticized the newly proposed law.

Behind this new regulatory project stands the Bank of England, who, naturally, is trying to protect its interests along with the interests of fellow bankers. Under the current law, banks have to refund every fraud victim, regardless if it was the bank’s or the user’s fault.

Naturally, the Bank of England is trying to push for new laws that will allow it to deny reimbursement for online fraud victims if evidence surfaces that the user has been ignoring online security best practices.

A four-stage plan for letting people know their browser choice sucks

Bankers are pushing for a four-stage plan during which they’ll introduce the notion of responsibility for their online users.

In the first stage, banks plan to use scanning software to detect old software like outdated browsers or antivirus programs running old virus signatures. Users will get a warning during this stage, but they’ll be allowed to access the bank’s service.

During stage two, banks will show the same warning, but they’ll block users from accessing their services completely.

In phase three, banks also want to collaborate with ISPs and even ban users off the Internet altogether if they have evidence the user is the victim of malware.

During the last stage of this implementation process, on top of the measures introduced in the first three phases, banks start denting refund claims if the user has suffered a financial loss after he ignored the bank’s warnings.

Users might not like it, but the new law makes sense

The new proposal is treated with a lot of attention from banks, who are very careful not to anger the general public. “Bankers are nervous of being seen to be penalise customers, given the sector’s tarnished reputation following the financial crisis and the multiple scandals that have emerged in its aftermath,” the Financial Times writes.

The new law is more like a PR rope balancing act than anything else. Technically, the law proposed by the Bank of England and the GHCQ makes more sense than customers are willing to admit.

Often the people that suffer from online fraud use old browsers or old operating systems for which countless of security vulnerabilities exist, allowing attackers to take advantage of these flaws and carry out the attacks. The bank is obviously not forcing the user to employ this outdated software, so in their eyes, they should not pay for the client’s carelessness.

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