The government is set to publish plans that will force internet service providers (ISPs) to store details of everyone's internet use for up to a year so that police could use it to fight crime and terrorism.
The draft Communications Bill is likely to meet fierce opposition, with many MPs staunchly opposed to what they see as a snooping charter.
The Bill would force ISPs to keep logs on the use of social networks, webmail, and calls made over the internet.
Home secretary Theresa May has said the introduction of widespread, routine surveillance was necessary to help combat the growing number of criminals and terrorists that rely on the internet.
The proposals would also extend the role of the interception of communications commissioner to cover internet data.
This should provide reassurance for those concerned over the privacy implications according to Margaret Gilmore, a senior research fellow at think tank the Royal United Services Institute.
“The Bill is a necessary response to modern life. It comes as a result of shifting trends in the way we communicate,” she added.
As a sop to privacy campaigners, the Bill would remove local authorities' ability to access communications data.
But many internet campaigners remain concerned that the Bill would enshrine the right to snoop on people's day-to-day lives.
“Today [David] Cameron is appearing at the Leveson Inquiry, and at the same time the government is releasing its plans to snoop on the internet. This is a very bad sign that they want to 'bury bad news',” said Jim Killock, executive director of campaigners the Open Rights Group.
The head of Big Brother Watch, Nick Pickles, said he believes the legislation is totally unnecessary, as police already have the powers to read suspects' emails or listen in to telephone conversations.
“The Home Office is trying to hide an unprecedented level of surveillance of the entire population behind a minuscule concession of removing the ability to access Communications Data from local councils,” he said.
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