Belfast Telegraph

Your entire internet history to be viewable by PSNI, taxman, DWP and Food Standards Agency and other government bodies within weeks

Police Ombudsman, Department for Communities and Department of Justice in Northern Ireland among the organisations granted access

The UK's Investigatory Powers Act forces internet providers to keep a full record of every site that each one of its customers have visited
The UK's Investigatory Powers Act forces internet providers to keep a full record of every site that each one of its customers have visited

Organisations including the PSNI, Food Standards Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions will be able to see UK citizens' entire internet browsing history in weeks.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, which was all but passed into law this week, forces internet providers to keep a full list of Internet Connection Records (ICRs) for a year, and make them available to the government if it asks.

Those ICRs effectively serve as a full list of every website that people have visited, not collecting which specific pages are visited or what's done on them but serving as a full list of every site that someone has visited and when.

And those same ICRs will be made available to a wide range of government bodies.

Those include expected law enforcement organisations like the police, the military and the secret service – but also contain bodies like the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission, council bodies and the Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust.

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The full list of agencies that can now ask for UK citizen's browsing history, which is laid out in Schedule 4 of the bill and was collected by Chris Yiu, is below:

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Metropolitan police force

City of London police force

Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996

Police Service of Scotland

Police Service of Northern Ireland

British Transport Police

Ministry of Defence Police

Royal Navy Police

Royal Military Police

Royal Air Force Police

Security Service

Secret Intelligence Service


Ministry of Defence

Department of Health

Home Office

Ministry of Justice

National Crime Agency

HM Revenue & Customs

Department for Transport

Department for Work and Pensions

NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services

Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service

Competition and Markets Authority

Criminal Cases Review Commission

Department for Communities in Northern Ireland

Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland

Department of Justice in Northern Ireland

Financial Conduct Authority

Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004

Food Standards Agency

Food Standards Scotland

Gambling Commission

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

Health and Safety Executive

Independent Police Complaints Commissioner

Information Commissioner

NHS Business Services Authority

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board

Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation

Office of Communications

Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

Police Investigations and Review Commissioner

Scottish Ambulance Service Board

Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission

Serious Fraud Office

Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust

The same part of the act also includes the minimum office or rank that each person within those organisations must be if they want access to the records.

In the police, any viewer must be an inspector or a superintendent, for instance.

Update: Investigatory Powers Bill officially passes into law

In a statement the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said: "The Investigatory Powers bill will apply throughout the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland. Once Royal Assent is obtained, implementation will commence in stages beginning with those aspects of the bill that will replace the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) which currently provides the lawful basis forcommunications data retention in the UK.

"The Government will set out the timetable, which will be subject to detailed consultation with industry and operational partners, in due course.

"The Northern Ireland Office is working very closely with the Home Office to ensure that implementation of the other relevant aspects of the bill, including the establishment of the Office of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, is successful."

An Alliance Party spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph: "The extensive powers in the bill represent an unjustified intrusion into the private lives of citizens: not only is it a diminution of our privacy rights but access to so much data, rather than targeted surveillance, could be detrimental to security - literally a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.

"Naomi Long voted against the bill whilst an MP. Alliance is opposed to any attempt to widen the right of government to monitor data and communications speculatively without having to go to a judge and show they had just cause to do so. 

"The arrangements which were in place ensured a balance between security and privacy: the current rules do not."

The DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and the SDLP were asked for comment but did not respond.

Independent News Service