A Southport Euro-MP has hit out at new rules giving governments widespread powers to snoop on people's phone calls and e-mails and monitor their internet usage.
Chris Davies says that the proposals, approved last week by Conservative and Labour MEPs in the European Parliament, are a dangerous threat to individual freedom.
The plans, strongly supported by the British government, will require phone companies and internet service providers to keep indefinitely records of what people are doing. Up until now such details have only been stored for a couple of months for billing purposes.
And the new regulations also mean that law enforcers will be able to track people's movements via their mobile phone records.
The measures have already met with widespread criticism. An international coalition of 40 civil liberties groups warned of "disastrous consequences for the most sensitive and confidential types of personal data", and one German MEP said that not even the secret police force in the former East Germany enjoyed the same kind of snooping powers.
Chris Davies says that the laws are "like something out of Nineteen Eighty-Four" and has accused the European Parliament of bowing to pressure from national governments - Britain in particular.
"We all recognise that action is needed to guarantee security," he said. "But democratic governments also have a duty to respect the rights of individual people, and the right to privacy is one of the most important of all."
"These new measures could be the beginning of a slippery slope. The majority of people in Britain and across Europe are law-abiding citizens, and governments should not use the so-called 'war on terror' to increase their stranglehold over ordinary people's lives."
Article submitted by A. Cutting on behalf of Chris Davies MEP
If the government asks for our records, I'll "accidentaly" delete them.
I might also enquire as to if there is a new government grant available to pay for the extra storage required and for the faster server needed to handle queries once the database becomes ridiculously larger.