The UK government wants communications companies to keep records of our phone, text messages, e-mail and Internet traffic, but has dropped plans to keep this information stored in a centralized database.
Currently UK Internet service providers are required to keep records of Web and e-mail traffic for one year, the Government wants to change this to include all communications that come from other countries that cross British networks.
The dates, duration and location/IP address will be kept by communications companies.
Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith said “Advances in communications mean that there are ever more sophisticated ways to communicate and we need to ensure that we keep up with the technology being used by those who would seek to do us harm.”
“My key priority is to protect the citizens of the UK, and communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers and pedophiles, save lives and tackle crime,” she added.
“It is essential that the police and other crime-fighting agencies have the tools they need to do their job. However, to be clear, there are absolutely no plans for a single central store.”
The Government claims there will be “strict safeguards on who could access the information” but this has not stopped local authorities from abusing their new found powers in the past.
A spokesman for the Conservative party, Chris Grayling, said the government had “built a culture of surveillance”.
“Too many parts of government have too many powers to snoop on innocent people and that’s really got to change,” he said.