U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron must give more details of his government’s plans to monitor phone calls and e-mail traffic to convince voters the powers are necessary, a panel of lawmakers said.
Police and intelligence agencies have been seeking powers to collect information showing the time, location and duration of a mobile-phone call or the existence of an e-mail. Civil-liberties campaigners say the proposals are too intrusive, putting ordinary people at risk of being spied upon.
Parliament’s cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee, which is examining the government’s Draft Communications Bill, said in a report published in London today that it recognizes how vital intelligence agencies find access to data.
“Nevertheless, we consider that the government needs to give more details on its proposals if the public and Parliament are to be convinced of the necessity of the bill,” the lawmakers said in the report.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the leader of Cameron’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners, has also called on the premier and Home Secretary Theresa May to reconsider the plans, saying the concerns over civil liberties mean a “fundamental rethink” is needed.
Clegg’s intervention last year set up another possible clash within a coalition that’s grown increasingly strained since coming to power in May 2010. The Liberal Democrats and Cameron’s Conservatives have been at odds over press regulation, taxation, electoral reform and relations with the European Union.