During the presentation of the new Draft Investigatory Powers Bill to parliament this week, Home Secretary Theresa May attempted to soothe concerns about surveillance elements of the bill.
In defence of the bill, May said that “an internet connection record is a record of the communication service that a person has used, not a record of every web page they have accessed.”
So, if someone has visited a social media website, an Internet Connection Record will only show that they accessed that site, not the particular pages they looked at, who they communicated with, or what they said. It is simply the modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill.
However, as some people have pointed out, finding out which sites people access can piece together a lot of data about individuals.
Labour MP for Leicester East, Keith Vaz, expressed concern about this aspect, putting to May:
If I were to look at your itemised telephone bill and you were to look at mine we might be surprised at who we were telephoning.
May insisted that there was nothing surprising in her phone records.
As TechDirt has discovered, an individual by the name of Chris Gilmour has decided to test this, by requesting the Home Secretary’s records with a Freedom of Information Request.
Dear Home Office,
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I hereby request the following information from and regarding the Rt Hon Theresa May MP (Con), Secretary of State for the Home Department (the "Home Secretary"):
1) The date, time, and recipient of every email sent by the Home Secretary during October 2015.
2) The date, time, and sender of every email received by the Home Secretary during October 2015.
3) The date, time, and recipient of every internet telephony call (e.g. "Skype" call) made by the Home Secretary during October 2015.
4) The date, time, and sender of every internet telephony call (e.g. "Skype" call) received by the Home Secretary during October 2015.
5) The date, time, and domain address of every website visited by the Home Secretary during October 2015.
We wonder how comfortable Theresa May will be with disclosing this itemised information.