A new bill nicknamed the “Snooper’s Charter” has been presented by lawmakers in the United Kingdom. If passed into law, all internet providers in the country will be mandated to keep a comprehensive list of websites visited by citizens.
Internet providers will be required to make a yearly presentation of such records to about 50 government agencies, if requested.
Media reports confirm that Internet Connection Records (ICRs) will not display pages which users visited on individual websites or if any action is performed on them.
However, the Investigatory Powers Bill will have the legal authority to demand from internet providers, every site visited by users as well as the actual time they were accessed.
The Food Standards Agency, Department of Transport, Gambling Commission, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Board are among the agencies that will be privy to citizen’s online information, along with several other law enforcement entities.
The 60-year-old UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, is said to be championing the cause of this bill after a previous attempt was denied by the Liberal Democrats, reports confirm.
Image shows Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister.
US whistleblower Edward Snowden took to Twitter to air his opinion on this “Snooper’s Charter”, saying that May is spearheading the bill so her government can expand its “powers of mass surveillance.”
A July report from The Independent quotes Privacy International campaign director Harmit Kambo as saying: “Instead of responding to public alarm about the Edward Snowden disclosures by rolling back state surveillance powers, [May] has instead ratcheted it up with the Investigatory Powers Bill, the most intrusive surveillance legislation of any democratic country.”
A draft version of a code of practice for the law indicates that when agencies apply to obtain a user’s records they must clarify what they are investigating, the person they are investigating, why that person is linked to the event in question, and why the data is pertinent to the investigation.
Matt Burgess, a writer with Wired UK, said: “For the first time, security services will be able to hack into computers, networks, mobile devices, servers and more under the proposed plans.
“The practice is known as equipment interference and is set out in part 5, chapter 2, of the IP Bill.
“This could include downloading data from a mobile phone that is stolen or left unattended, or software that tracks every keyboard letter pressed being installed on a laptop.”