Police are soon to be granted the power to view everyone’s entire internet history in a new surveillance bill which is due to be published next week.
According to the Daily Telegraph proposed legislation will make it a legal requirement for telecoms and internet service providers to retain all of the web browsing history for all customers for a period of one year.
The Independent reports:
Authorities such as the police, intelligence services and the National Crime Agency would be able to access specific web addresses people had visited, but would need approval from a judge to view the content of websites, emails and social media messages.
Police have argued that the powers are necessary due to the scale of activity being carried out online, with The Guardian reporting that police have lobbied the Government for the change.
Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman for data communications, told the newspaper: “We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened.
“And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?
“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit.”
He acknowledged it would be too intrusive for police to be able to access the content of social media messages and internet searches without the requirement for a judicial warrant.
Next Wednesday’s bill is expected to be a revival of Home Secretary Theresa May’s so-called ‘snooper’s charter’, which suffered a setback earlier this year when an independent review raised doubts over moves to store every person’s web-browsing history.