The BBC News website reports that Theresa May the Home Secretary is proposing a law forcing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to hand over to the police information identifying who was using a computer or mobile phone at a given time.
Although the current proposals do not resurrect the full powers in the abandoned Communications Data Bill, which is commonly called the Snoopers’ Charter, Conservative MP and former leadership contender David Davis said the new measure was a “stepping stone back” to those proposals.
The core requirement of the new legislation is that ISPs record the user of a specific IP address at a specific time. Although each device has its own IP address, these change over time and when a device is switched on and off and thus an IP address is typically shared between different users. At the moment ISPs have no business need to retain information on a specific user which means it is not always possible to match individuals to internet use.
The new law could be introduced to parliament as early as next week.