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Friday 30 October 2015

Will police be able to look up your internet browsing history?

Will police be able to look up your internet browsing history?

Poised to approve? Theresa May will introduce a new snooping bill
Every British person's internet browsing history could be viewed freely by police up to a year later if officers win powers in Theresa May's snooping bill.

Senior officers allegedly want to revive plans to force firms to retain browsing histories for 12 months - and today it was reported the Home Secretary is poised to grant the new power .

She will return to the Commons next week with a new surveillance bill after a previous version was mired in controversy and dubbed the Snoopers' Charter.

Her Bill has prompted an unprecedented spin offensive by security chiefs at GCHQ, who have invited The Times into their Cheltenham base and warned of the worst terror threat for 30 years .

One police chief told The Times he wants to have the same freedom to look at what websites people visited as if they had walked into a bank.

Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs' Council spokesman for data communications refused to comment on any specifics of the forthcoming legislation.

But he insisted police were not looking for anything beyond what they could already access through telephone records.

Will police be able to look up your internet browsing history?

Secret no more: Your browsing history could be looked at remotely (posed by model)
Mr Berry, assistant chief constable at Gloucestershire Police, 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 accepted it would be "far too intrusive" for officers to be able to access content of internet searches and social media messaging without additional safeguards such as the requirement for a judicial warrant.

The shelved Communications Data Bill - labelled a "snooper's charter" by critics - would have required companies to retain phone and email data to include records of browsing activity, social media use and internet gaming, among other things.

It was blocked by the Liberal Democrats due to privacy concerns during the coalition government but the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill could revive the measures.

Tory MP David Davis told The Times: "It's extraordinary they're asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year."

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