Home Secretary Theresa May is set to reveal plans for a new law which would see details identifying who was using a mobile phone or computer at any given time to the Police.
Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, Internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to retain data that links devices to users.
According to May, the measure is intended to improve national security and help Police and security services identify organised criminals, cyber bullies, hackers, terror suspects, child sex offenders and vulnerable people using the Internet to discuss taking their own life.
The Home Secretary claims the new bill is designed to help relevant organisations deal with the “increased threat that we now see,” adding that even with this measure, there will still be people who remain unidentified.
She says that in order to “fully identify” everybody, Police would require access to communication data, as proposed in the controversial Communication Data Bill which has seen been scrapped.
The proposals, which would help law enforcement agencies identify suspects via a computer or mobile device’s individual Internet Protocol (IP) address, are due to come before MPs on Wednesday this week.
However, despite government claims that the proposals are in the interest of the safety of the public, many critics have spoken out against them.
“It is perfectly reasonable that powers to provide the Police with the ability to match an IP address to the person using that service is investigated,” claimed privacy campaigners Big Brother Watch director Emma Carr.
“However, if such a power is required, then it should be subject to the widespread consultation and comprehensive scrutiny that has been sorely lacking to date with industry, civil society and the wider public when it comes to introducing new surveillance powers.
“Before setting her signs on the reviving the Snooper’s Charter, the Home Secretary should address the fact that one of the biggest challenges facing the Police is making use of the huge volume of data that is already available, including data from social media and Internet companies.
“The Snooper’s Charter would not have addressed this, while diverting billions from investing in skills and training for the Police,” she added.
“It looks like it could catch people who post annoying things on Twitter or not very nice things on social media – but those not those who know how to hide their online activities,” Massey claimed.
“It’s not a sensible thing to have decided to do without consulting us first,” he added.