The Home Office wants to push through new web surveillance laws as soon as possible, despite widespread criticism against the plans.
The proposals to allow security officials real-time access to key logs of email and web messaging services hit the headlines again yesterday amid outcry over privacy.
Although details over exactly how the technology would work remain vague, the Home Office has issued a statement claiming the legislation will be pushed through quickly. It is expect to be unveiled in the Queen's Speech in May.
"It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” a spokesperson said in a statement sent to PC Pro.
“We need to take action to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes. We will legislate as soon as Parliamentary time allows to ensure that the use of communications data is compatible with the Government's approach to civil liberties.”
The Home Office moved to allay fears that everyone's emails would be open to snooping, and said existing communication laws already gave officials permission to intercept with a court order.
"Communications data includes time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address,” the spokesperson said. “It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of Government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications.”
Home Secretary Theresa May turned up the rhetoric in a column in The Sun, where she said “ordinary” people shouldn't be worried, because the surveillance would improve security.
“Looking at who a suspect talks to can lead the police to other criminals - whole paedophile rings, criminal conspiracies and terrorist plots can then be smashed,” she said.
“No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts. Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated.”