The government has unveiled another bill designed to stop terrorism by bringing yet more measures to the statute books to legalise web monitoring and data collection.
The Counter Terrorism and Security Bill was unveiled to Parliament by home secretary Theresa May, and contains a measure that would force communication service providers (CSPs) to retain data on customers so they can be matched with their IP addresses.
Security experts and ISPs have already questioned the wisdom of these plans, claiming that they could easily be circumvented. However, May said that the new measures ware vital to combat the modern terrorist threat.
"This bill includes a considered, targeted set of proposals that will help to keep us safe at a time of very significant danger by ensuring we have the powers we need to defend ourselves," she said.
A detailed document outlining the need for IP matching claims that the cost to CSPs of implementing such measures would be £98.9m, which the government would cover.
The document also sets out examples of why such capabilities are required, saying that 18 National Crime Agency investigations, and 12 Met Police investigations, have hit a brick wall in the past when IP data could not be traced to an individual.
Furthermore, the government says that, with more types of communication services being used all the time, such as voice over IP and instant messaging apps, communications data is being increasingly fragmented.
This makes it harder to trace the source of a communication, meaning that a change in the law is vital to help security agencies stay ahead of the criminals, according to the government.
“It is essential that legislation is passed to require CSPs to retain the data that allows law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies to attribute an IP address to a person, device and location, with the appropriate safeguards," the document states.
"At the same time, communication over the internet can often be anonymous, requiring further data analysis in order to identify who made a communication, when and where.
"This means that it is vital to be able to determine the IP address that a subscriber or device has used to access the internet."
The introduction of the bill comes after a report laid the blame for failing to stop the murder of fusilier Lee Rigby squarely at the feet of internet companies, specifically Facebook, accusing them of not monitoring and reporting potential terrorist communications.
This is despite the government having been shown to have carried out internet monitoring for several years under secret campaigns such as Tempora.
The plans for the new IP-matching laws have already come under fire. The Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) criticised the Home Office for not asking for its input.
"ISPA is disappointed that the Home Office has not consulted with industry on proposals for IP matching, but we will work with our members to scrutinise and inform the legislation when it is published," the organisation said.
"IP addresses can generally only be used to identify a subscriber and not an individual."
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, was also critical of the plans, claiming that they represent yet another example of the creeping surveillance state being introduced by the government.
"Proposals for surveillance need to be justified not just because of the increased convenience for police, but on the basis that they do not intrude more than is necessary for specific criminal enforcement," he said.
"This does not mean that all events should be logged and tracked at all times in order that police can always use a source of evidence for investigations. Yet rhetorically we know this is where the surveillance lobby has already arrived."
The government will be hoping to push the law through, no doubt using the Lee Rigby report as proof that it needs yet more data to stop extremists.
With the next election just a few months away, the government may well use the so-called 'wash-up' period in Parliament, which occurs on the last day before election campaigning begins, to force the bill through.
This was the same tactic Labour used to ensure that its Digital Economy Act became law in 2010.
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