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FCA and HMRC to gain new powers under ‘snoopers’ charter’

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New powers to be unveiled this week will see the FCA and HM Revenue and Customs gain access to the public’s internet search history and social media activity.

The Telegraph reports technology firms will have to keep records of the websites and app people have used and details of when they accessed them for 12 months, as part of legislation to be published on Wednesday.

The pages people have used and the content of any messages cannot be seen without a warrant.

A total of 38 bodies will be able to access these records to “detect or prevent crime”, and it is thought the most common users of the new powers will be intelligence agencies, police and the National Crime Agency.

But other bodies such as the FCA, HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions and councils will also be able to access the information.

The powers will be overseen by a new Investigatory Powers Commissioner. Ministers also want to introduce heavy fines for those who abuse the new powers.


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There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. As always, ‘prevention of terrorism’ is used by every other bureaucracy or state agency to promote its own agenda. As much as I disliked the FibDems on so many levels, they were at least able to curb some of the fascistic tendencies of a Tory Party too obsessed with the business of Government to understand its own inheritance.

  2. So will you still be a ‘fit and proper person’ if you view websites that the FCA doesn’t like. Be afraid, be very afraid. Orwellian.

  3. Why would the FCA need such powers?

  4. MiB

    Although I wouldn’t go as far as to accuse the Tories of Fascist tendencies I do worry that all this surveillance is treading a very unpalatable path and is far too redolent of the Gestapo or KGB.

    I know we face huge threats in our modern world but I see that apart from the FCA and HMRC, local councils and dozens of other public bodies will have a licence to snoop. What may one ask is the likelihood of finding a terrorist within the FCA or HMRC scope? I would have thought it would be far simpler just to close Facebook and other social media sites. They have no useful purpose for people in general and are used by terrorists who do find them very useful. The rest of us can make do with telephone, letters texts and e-mails.

  5. Wiki Leaks have been able to obtain the emails and other communications and information held electronically by some of the most secure data holders supposedly held on the planet. Having the FCA as another ‘secure’ guardian of the data wholly unconnected with its remit fills me with a certain degree of dread. Obviously they will soon need to know where we are 24/7 and we will all be expected to carry trackers. Watch for the new FCA App! Having an unelected quango given these powers is very worrying indeed. How exactly would the FCA use these powers and to what ends? Need to know basis has just gone off the radar.

  6. Not a problem per se, but between those organisations, that amounts to a lot of employees with potential access to private profiles.

    I therefore take it that access will be strictly regulated to certain departments/individuals only?

  7. @ Julian Stevens – That was my first thought. What on earth would the FCA need any power to see what websites the public view. Are they going to regulate the public now as well?

  8. With great power comes great responsibility, (to quote Stan Lee)

    I fear the FCA, do not care a jot for responsibility for their own part, but demands it for all other quarters !

    As for why they have, or will have these powers, it is yet more evidence of how political they are, and how they are being drawn into the arms of the Treasury,

    Now that is something very real, to be afraid of ?

  9. Also a further thought ! would FCA staff now have to sign the official secrets act ?

    If not, they should ! after all, if they (FCA staff) are privy to such information they themselves will be targeted (if they aren’t already) by any-one with a notion to cause harm and destruction ?

  10. As history has proven time and again giving power, for whatever ‘good’ reason, to one section of government means that it WILL be abused by another agency or department in the fullness of time.
    As a number of other posts show there is a distinct lack of trust in the possible motives there could be for any agency that is not involved in terrorism to have these proposed powers.

    @ D H
    Heaven forbid that FCA staff should ever sign the OS Act. That will just be another shield for them to hide behind when being questioned about their conduct. Not that they actually need it as they deny responsibility for anything and everything.

  11. John Reilly & Marty Y ~ Think of Minority Report. Also, I have it on good authority that the FCA are already able to track visitors to their own website.

  12. What the political wallahs don’t realise is that the polis will be able to dig the dirt on them; then we’ll really be in a police state.

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