Adrian Farrel : Consequences of the IP Bill for You and Your Internet Service Provider

Well, like it or not (and I don't) the Investigatory Powers Bill has received royal assent and so is something that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to take seriously. But what does it all mean for you and your ISP?

Internet Connection Records

The new bill requires that Internet Connection Records (ICRs) are retained by communications service providers. The intention is that government agencies shall be able to look at the retained data subject to due legal process allowing law enforcement agencies to attribute illegal activity on the internet to a person in the real world.

The Government has been famously coy in defining what an ICR actually is. They say things like, "Internet connection records (ICRs) are records of the internet services that have been accessed by a device. They would include, for example, a record of the fact that a smartphone had accessed a particular social media website at a particular time." And they give examples of usage such as, "Internet Connection Records when used with Internet Protocol (IP) resolution data would allow law enforcement agencies to trace the individuals who accessed [particular] images."

The Government is also are quite keen to say what they are not: "ICRs do not provide a full internet browsing history. The ICRs do not reveal every web page that a person visited or any action carried out on that web page."

But this is all very unclear. Does the ICR stop at noting that you visited, or does it go as far as distinguishing visits to and