The U.K. government plans to fast-track a new 'emergency' bill requiring telcos to retain communications data.
In a statement on Thursday, the government said there is an urgent need to usher in new rules after the European Court of Justice invalidated the EU's Data Retention Directive, which stipulated that member states must store individual citizens' voice call and SMS records, emails and Internet usage and make the information available to law enforcement agencies.
It is worth pointing out though that this happened in April, which begs the question: why has it taken several months for it to become an emergency?
"As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe," said Prime Minister David Cameron.
"The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists," he said.
Cameron said the new legislation, called the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill, has cross-party support.
Human rights group Liberty was quick to voice its opinion.
"We are told this is a paedophile and jihadi 'emergency', but the court judgment they seek to ignore was handed down over three months ago," said Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, in a statement.
"This isn't snooping on suspects but on everyone," she added.
The government insisted though that the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill comes with measures aimed at providing transparency and oversight to ensure it is not abused and that civil liberties are protected. It also includes a termination clause at the end of 2016, meaning the next government will have to review the legislation.
Chakrabarti is not convinced though.
"We are promised greater scrutiny and debate but not until 2016," she said. "No privacy for us and no scrutiny for them."