UK Unveils New Surveillance Bill

UK Unveils New Surveillance BillUK Unveils New Surveillance Bill

The Internet activity of everyone in Britain will have to be stored for a year by service providers, under new surveillance law plans.

Police and intelligence officers will be able to access suspects' "Internet connection records". But new safeguards, including allowing judges to block spying operations, will be introduced to prevent abuses, BBC reported.

The home secretary said the powers in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill were needed to fight crime and terror.

The large and complex draft bill also contains proposals covering how the state can hack devices and run operations to sweep up large amounts of data as it flows through the Internet, enshrining in law the previously covert activities of the UK Government Communications Headquarters, as uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

However, police will not be able to access journalistic sources without the authorization of a judge.

The legislation brings together a variety of existing powers that cover how the home secretary and other ministers can authorize operations to intercept communications - such as telephone taps and other surveillance.

But it also proposes to order communications companies, such as broadband firms, to hold basic details of the services that someone has accessed online; something that has been repeatedly proposed but never enacted.

This duty would include forcing firms to hold a schedule of which websites someone visits and the apps they connect to through computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices.

Police and other agencies would be then able to access these records in pursuit of criminals, but also seek to retrieve data in a wider range of inquiries, such as missing people.