Britain seeks greater access to citizens' online activity

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LONDON (AP) — British police and spies will get new powers to comb through citizens' online activity under a new law regulating cyber-snooping.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, being published Wednesday, is designed to regulate authorities' access to Internet activity. It replaces a patchwork of laws, some dating from the Web's infancy.

Home Secretary Theresa May has insisted that the government "will not be giving powers to go through people's browsing history," and says the law will contain safeguards against abuse.

But civil liberties groups are alarmed by reports that the government will make Internet service providers keep records of users' Web and social media activity for a year so that they can be accessed as part of criminal or terrorist investigations.

The bill has to be approved by Parliament before it becomes law.