Science of snooping: Internet spying cost & feasibility examined by MPs

MPs have launched an inquiry into the cost and feasibility of the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, known as the Snooper’s Charter, to examine how it collects communication data and its impact on ISPs and citizens.

The Science and Technology Committee announced on Thursday it will focus on technology issues relating to the controversial legislation, which seeks to expand the surveillance powers of spy agencies and the police in the fight against terrorism.

The committee will investigate the technical feasibility of requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to store users’ browser history and the cost of the legislation, which critics believe could balloon from £250 million to £2 billion.

MPs went on to state they would look specifically at “the extent to which communications data and communications content can be separated and the extent to which this is reflected in the Draft Bill.”

Ministers insist the Bill will give police and spy agencies, such as GCHQ, limited powers to track citizens’ internet usage, because they will only see metadata of the web use and not actual content.

If authorities want to see which specific pages of a website someone visits, they will need a warrant from the Home Secretary or another senior minister. Some 2,700 warrants were issued last year.

A computer security and digital forensics researcher at Liverpool John Moores University has come up with a novel way to demonstrate the level of information British spooks will be able to access with and without a warrant.

Brett Lempereur set up a web page which streams information about the websites he visits in real-time — even those that are “not suitable for work.”

Lempereur uses a browser extension to gather the data and invites other internet users to take part in the project.

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.

Via RT.