Theresa May's claims to justify 'snoopers' charter' anger campaigners

The Home Office say the moves are essential to keep pace with criminals using new forms of communication

Theresa May has outraged civil liberties campaigners with a decision to press ahead with proposals to give police and security services sweeping new powers to monitor phone, email and internet use.

The Home Secretary will announce plans today to widen surveillance of suspects in criminal conspiracies. The Home Office insists the moves are essential to enable police to keep pace with criminals and terrorists who are increasingly using new forms of communication.

But civil liberties campaigners say the government is resorting to Big Brother tactics. Rachel Robinson, of Liberty, said: "Successive governments seek to watch the whole population instead of targeting real suspects. Just like the internet, any private home can be a crime scene, but should we install hidden cameras and microphones in every bedroom in the land?"

Liberal Democrat MPs, as well as some Tories, have criticised the scheme, branding it a "snoopers' charter".

Critics' anger is likely to be further enflamed by revelations that the Government is set to offer a blank cheque to internet and phone firms that will be required to track everyone's email, Twitter, Facebook and other web use

The Home Office confirmed it will foot the bill for collecting and storing the extra social media and web browsing records. The department defended its plan, saying that unless the new powers are brought in almost a third of terrorist plots and paedophile rings will soon be beyond detection. Under the proposals, companies would be required to keep a record of when, where and to whom messages were sent but police would not be able to see message contents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss