These 48 Government Organisations Can See Your Internet History, Even If You Delete It


If you think GCHQ are the only ones that can view your browsing history you might want to think again.

The newly enforced Investigatory Powers Bill gives 48 government agencies access to your internet connection records; a log of which internet services you’ve accessed. These include which websites you’ve visited and even when you’ve used instant messaging apps.

Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images

Now that the Snoopers’ Charter has come into force the bill is being examined with a fine toothpick to find out just what it means for us and our personal information.

In case you’re wondering just what these organisations are then you can send your thanks to Chris Yiu, a blogger who has combed through the bill and discovered which government agencies will have access to this information.

  • Metropolitan Police Service

  • City of London Police

  • 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

  • GCHQ

  • 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

In his blog, titled “Who can view my internet history”, Yiu doesn’t mince his words when it comes to expressing how he feels.

“I always wondered what it would feel like to be suffocated by the sort of state intrusion that citizens are subjected to in places like China, Russia and Iran. I guess we’re all about to find out.”

Boasting some of the most invasive surveillance laws we’ve ever seen, the Investigatory Powers Bill includes bulk data collection, the forced surveillance of personal devices (in extreme cases) and the ability to even control those devices if possible.

Thomas Suurland via Getty Images

We spoke to John Shaw, VP Product Management at Sophos about how the bill could affect us and whether we should be worried.

Shaw presented an alternative point of view which is that while the bill is indeed invasive, it’s the indirect actions of the bill which could pose the most amount of danger to us.

“We should perhaps be more nervous that a hacker might break into the store of data held by your ISP and sell it on.” explains Shaw.

“Especially after the revelations about TalkTalk, one of the ISPs that will need to store the data. The government’s advisers claim that there will be very strict controls on the storing and security of the data. But I for one feel nervous about that, and that is the thing that might cause me to use a VPN.”

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