London, Jan.5 (ANI): British citizens will soon have to subject their personal computers for a police check under new plans on electronic surveillance formulated by the European Union. According to a report in The Telegraph, police will not need a warrant to bug computers in homes and offices in order to monitor website use and e-mail traffic.
The British Home Office is backing these surveillance-related proposals introduced by the EU Council of Ministers.
It would allow other European nations to request surveillance by British police.
Civil liberty groups have expressed concern over this development.
"These are very intrusive powers, as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home. The public will want this to be controlled by new legislation and judicial authorisation. Without those safeguards it's a devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy," the paper quoted Shami Chakrabati, Director of Liberty, as saying.
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said the proposals may benefit law enforcement, but added: "The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse."
The no-holds bar electronic surveillance has been introduced in Europe as a counter to terrorists, paedophiles and organised criminal gangs, who have been exploiting the Internet in recent years as a way of avoiding traditional phone taps used by investigators.
Britain already allows remote searching under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and police have carried out a small number of operations among the 194 clandestine searches conducted last year. (ANI)