London, Nov 10 (ANI): The British Home Office wants communication firms to monitor all Internet use and retain information on how people use social networks such as Facebook.
Ministers confirmed their intention despite concerns and opposition from some in the industry.
Some 40 percent of respondents to the Home Office's consultation opposed the plans, but ministers say communication interception needs to be updated, the BBC reports.
Home Office Minister David Hanson said: "Communications data is crucial to the fight against crime and in keeping people safe. It is a highly technical area and one, which demands a fine balance between privacy and maintaining the capabilities of the police and security services."
"The consultation showed widespread recognition of the importance of communications data in protecting the public and an appreciation of the challenges which rapidly changing technology poses.
"We will now work with communications service providers and others to develop these proposals, and aim to introduce necessary legislation as soon as possible," he added.
Both the police and secret security services have legal powers in the UK to intercept communications in the interests of combating crime or threats to national security. But the rules largely focus on communications over telephones and do not cover the whole range of Internet communications now being used, the BBC reports.
The Home Office says it wants to change the law to compel communication service providers (CSPs) to collect and retain records of communications from a wider range of Internet sources, from social networks through to chat rooms and unorthodox methods, such as within online games.
Ministers say that they do not want to create a single government-owned database and only intend to ask CSPs to hold a record of a contact, rather than the actual contents of what was said, the BBC reports. (ANI)