David Davis has claimed proposed plans to monitor emails, phone calls and websites will make existing surveillance legislation “60 million times worse”.
The former Conservative Home Secretary argued the new powers risked causing enormous resentment by allowing “unfettered” access to all forms of communication.
The Coalition is to revive plans first raised then shelved by the last Labour Government to track the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.
The proposals, to be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech, will see a huge expansion in the amount of data communication providers are required to keep for at least a year.
It will allow the police and intelligence officers to monitor who someone is in contact with or websites they visit, although the content of such communications will not be accessed.
Under new legislation, internet companies will be instructed to install hardware enabling GCHQ – the Government’s electronic “listening” agency – to examine “on demand” any phone call made, text message and email sent, and website accessed.
An inquiry was launched today after it was claimed high-profile Muslim MP Sadiq Khan was secretly bugged twice by Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist unit while he visited a prisoner in jail – and that Prime Minister Gordon Brown knew about it. Shadow home secretary David Davis has claimed he wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown several weeks ago warning him that a Labour MP was being bugged. However in a statement today, Gordon Brown said he “knew nothing” about Mr Davis’ claims.
The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, relaunched the government’s hearts and minds campaign aimed at Britain’s Muslims yesterday, promising she would not rush through anti-terror legislation that might leave them feeling isolated in response to the foiled bomb attacks in Glasgow and London. But she and Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, hinted that the 28-day limit on detention without charge would either be extended or abolished by leaving the period of detention open ended. Ms Smith said: “There may well be a case for looking very carefully at the amount of time that we are able to detain people pre-charge in order to ensure the very best opportunity to bring convictions.” Lord Carlile said yesterday he favoured an end to detention limits balanced by stronger judicial oversight, a position rejected by David Davis, the shadow home secretary.