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UK ISPs told to store browsing data for a year

5/11/2015 by Bryan Wong


The UK's Internet service providers will be required to keep their customers' Web histories for 12 months, under new surveillance law plans.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May on Wednesday, would ask carriers to hold on to "Internet connection records," thus giving police the ability to see if a customer accessed an application like Google Maps or WhatsApp.

However, it wouldn't require carriers to keep records of full Web browsing history, just basic data, which was the "modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill," May confirmed in the Commons.

"It cannot be right that today the police could find an abducted child if the suspects were using mobile phones to coordinate their crime, but if they were using social media or communications apps then they would be out of reach," May said.

"Such an approach defies all logic and ignores the realities of today's digital age."

The law would also enable police and security services to access records of every UK citizen's Internet use without the need for judicial authorisation, just as they do now – some 517,000 such requests were granted last year.

Vodafone said in a statement that surveillance powers, while important "in supporting efforts to tackle serious crime, terrorism and threats" must be tightly targeted, only used when necessary to protect the public, and balanced with the state's obligation to protect privacy.

Meanwhile, the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) said it will be going through the bill with a "fine-toothed comb", noting that it will inevitably bring "technological challenges".



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