Online services like WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype could be trawled by police if the Snooper’s Charter passes.
David Cameron wants the Investigatory Powers Bill – nicknamed the Snooper’s Charter – to grant security services access to communications on social media and apps in the hopes of preventing possible terror attacks – like the attack on tourists in Sousse, Tunisia.
The legislation would require service providers like Apple, Facebook, Google, SnapChat and WhatsApp to keep a record of users’ activity.
The PM said: ‘We have always been able to, on the authority of the home secretary, to sign a warrant and intercept a phone call, a mobile phone call or other media communications.
‘But the question we must ask ourselves is whether, as technology develops, we are content to leave a safe space – a new means of communication – for terrorists to communicate with each other.
Data collected – which could include things like your Google searches, Facebook conversations, SnapChat videos and WhatsApp group messages – would be available to the police or the government should you – for whatever reason – be under investigation.
While some aren’t really bothered if their face-pulling selfies are intercepted, others think the Snooper’s Charter is a gross invasion of privacy.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg clashed with the Tory’s proposal. He said: ‘We have every right to invade the privacy of terrorists and those we think want to do us harm, but we should not equate that with invading the privacy of every single person in the UK. They are not the same thing.
‘People who blithely say they are happy for their communications to be open to scrutiny because they have “nothing to hide” have failed to grasp something fundamental about open democratic society. We do not make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.’
Jennie Formby, political director for Unite – the biggest trade union in Britain – also disagrees with the Investigatory Powers Bill.
Earlier this week, she said: ‘Of course, any measures that can genuinely reduce the chance of similar attacks will be supported. But we must also guard against giving uninhibited freedom to the security services to snoop in citizens.