Investigatory Powers Bill could snoop on your shopping

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GCHQ and other spying agents will know what you're buying, says privacy campaigner

An internet privacy campaigner has told MPs their shopping and reward schemes such as Tesco Clubcard data could be tracked by the Investigatory Powers Bill.

One of the clauses in the bill refers to giving spying agencies such as GCHQ access to bulk personal datasets holding information about potential security targets, and this could include items you buy online and in store if you use a reward scheme like Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage, Sainsbury’s Nectar or any other card that collects data on your purchases.

“What is a bulk dataset? Which have been accessed and grabbed by GCHQ so far? Who might that apply to? Just about every business in the country operates a database with personal information in it,” Open Rights Group director Jim Killock told Parliament this week.

“This could be Tesco Clubcard information. It could be Experian’s data around people’s financial transactions, it could be banking details, it could certainly be any government database that you care to mention. It’s kind of hard to see where surveillance ends with bulk data sets.”

The Investigatory Powers Bill would give governmental spy agencies access to information following the issue of a six-month warrant issued by the home secretary to crack databases and other places information is held in the interest of public safety.

Also known as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, the bill would mean that the government could access private and confidential information about “a large number of individuals, the majority of whom will not be of any interest to the security and intelligence agencies”.

Earlier this week, it was revealed any connected device, including Wi-Fi enabled toys like Hello Barbie could provide law enforcement agents with data, which is of great concern to internet privacy groups.