Theresa May is watching you

Issue section: 

Tory home secretary Theresa May is giving police and intellegence services widespread new powers to snoop into our computers.

The planned anti-terrorism and security bill will allow security forces to link data to smartphones and laptops through the IP address, the internet protocol that connects a device to the internet at a given time.

The law will allow the authorities to force internet firms to hand over data showing who has been using a device over a 12-month period.

The bill is being framed as a response to terrorism, yet anyone conducting “criminal activity” can be targeted.

This snooper’s charter means that the security forces can check an individual’s internet use and “discover” any activity that can be deemed “criminal”, as part of a wider crackdown on internet freedom.

Records that would be made available include information on social network sites such as Facebook, webmail such as Hotmail, internet phone calls and online gaming sites.

The plans will allow tax inspectors from HM Revenue and Customs to access data. Local authorities will also be allowed access to the information, although it will be more restricted.

Those who will fall foul of this law will be political activists and those who would not understand the nature of the materials they are accessing.

Most hardened criminals and “terrorists” use alternative systems to circumvent internet snoopers.

Theresa May’s proposals put Britain in line with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, where internet activity considered a danger to the state can land people in jail.