'Listening post': GCHQ, in Cheltenham, where Government surveillance workers will be able to trace who you contact, how often and for how long
The new legislation is expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next month, despite similar ‘Big Brother’-style laws being rejected six years ago.
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 in ‘real time’.
Civil liberties campaigners expressed fears that this ‘unprecedented’ move will intrude on the lives of British citizens, with the measures being compared to strict controls currently exercised in China and Iran.
The Sunday Times reports, the Home Office has confirmed coalition ministers intend to revive the move towards greater surveillance ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’.
Ministers claim it is essential that the police and security services have access to such data in order to tackle terrorism and protect the public.