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UK government wants police to view internet history

by on02 November 2015

Without a warrant

The UK government, upon which insanity never sets, wants to give police to view the web browsing history of everyone in the country without a warrant.

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the plans when she introduces the Government's new surveillance bill in the House of Commons this week.

The law will mean that every website you look at can be snuffled by the UK cops. It would make it a legal requirement for communications companies to retain all the web browsing history of customers for 12 months in case the spy agencies or police need to access them. Police would be able to access specific web addresses visited by customers.

Since it does not require a warrant, it probably means that they look at your browser history electronically and flag you if you look at sites.

May said that: "In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job."

The new powers would allow the police to seize details of the website and searches being made by people they wanted to investigate.

They will still need to apply for judicial approval to be able to access the content of the websites.

May insists that now is not the time to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country.

"Those threats remain considerable and they are evolving. They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage. They include not just organised criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings."

However the government has not had much luck with its knee-jerk internet laws. Previous plans to introduce the measure in the so-called snooper's charter in 2013 were blocked by the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition.

Under the plans, telecoms and internet service providers would be paid to log their customers’ emails, internet use and other correspondence so it could be easily searched by security officials.

Data would be held for 12 months and access granted to the police, the National Crime Agency, the intelligence agencies and HM Revenue and Customs.

Last modified on 02 November 2015
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