UK Home Office Tests Web Surveillance Tool

The UK Home Office and National Crime Agency (NCA) with the cooperation of two local internet providers have reportedly started testing a tool that tracks the websites visited by customers.

An article written by Wired claimed that the tools are being tested under the Investigatory Powers Act, or Snooper’s Charter, was introduced in 2016.

The trials provided the Home Office and the NCA “internet connection records (ICRs)” which contain data on websites visited by a citizen, when they did so and how much data they downloaded.

The Snooper’s Charter mandated web and phone companies to store browsing histories for 12 months for investigative purposes.

Heather Burns, policy manager of the Open Rights Group expressed concerns about the act and how it could affect the privacy of ordinary citizens.

“We should have the right to not have every single click of what we do online hoovered up into a surveillance net on the assumption that there might be criminal activity taking place,” said Burns.

The Home office defended that they are only conducting small trials for now while the NCA claimed they are using it to fight crime. 

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