The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has denied that it plans to monitor all web and telephone usage in the UK.
The denial comes after an article in the Sunday Times suggested that GCHQ was pushing ahead with plans to monitor communications and create a centralised database of the details gathered.
“GCHQ is not developing technology to enable the monitoring of all internet use and phone calls in Britain, or to target everyone in the UK,” the agency said in a statement.
“GCHQ has no ambitions, expectations or plans for a database or databases to store centrally all communications data in Britain,” the statement continued.
Recently, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that communications providers should be responsible for logging the senders and recipients of emails and internet telephone calls as well as other details, though not the content of messages.
Last month, a law requiring ISPs to store communications data for 12 months was introduced.
Privacy campaigners were outraged by the new laws saying they created a “snooper’s charter”.
GCHQ reiterated the circumstances under which it would monitor communications in the UK.
“The purposes for which interception may be permitted are set out explicitly in the legislation: national security, safeguarding our economic well being and the prevention and detection of serious crime,” GCHQ said.
“Interception for other purposes is not lawful and we do not do it,” it continued.