Proposals to create a 'super database' that would log every phone call, text and email in the UK have been called into question by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas.
Speculation has been rife that the government intends to create a giant database after talking about "modifying procedures for acquiring communications data" in the Communications Data Bill.
Thomas described the creation of such a database, which would offer security agencies access to all telephone and internet communications made in the UK, as "a step too far for the British way of life".
"Do we really want the police, security services and other organs of the state to have access to more and more aspects of our private lives?" Thomas asked at the launch of the Information Commissioner's annual report.
Under the current system police and intelligence agencies are required to request telecoms companies for information on phone calls, texts messages and surfing history.
The new proposals would overturn the right of ISPs and telcos to query any such request, which can currently be referred to the Interception Commissioner or an alternative watchdog.
Dealing with the volume of all communications made in the UK would require a database of unprecedented size.
Some 57 billion text messages were sent in Britain last year, while three million emails are thought to be sent every day.
PUBG news and updates: November's Update #23 to bring new Skorpion pistol and changes to blue zone visibility
Genuinely useful side-arm coming to PUBG in Update #23
Asda, Morrisons and Tesco in the frame for checkout facial recognition technology
Research opens up new possibilities for structural batteries, where the carbon fibre forms part of the energy system
Another shape could have indicated hard-to-detect particles