The UK government will today approve an emergency bill enabling police and security agencies to access phone and internet records from ISPs - required by EU law to be erased.
'The Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill’, which has the full support of the three parties, will be enforced today after only a week of drafting, making it lawful for UK ISPs to store personal data again.
Bills of this nature were deemed "unconstitutional" by the European Court of Justice in April after an EU Directive requiring ISPs to keep personal data for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 24 months was revoked. The UK bill will however reinstate much of these powers as in order to lawfully protect ISPs.
In a statement, David Cameron, said: “It is the first duty of government to protect our national security and to act quickly when that security is compromised. As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe.
"The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK.”
However, critics have expressed concerns over lawfulness of the bill and worry that it never received the scrutiny of parliament.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: "Not only will the proposed legislation infringe our right to privacy, it will also set a dangerous precedent where the government simply re-legislates every time it disagrees with a decision by the CJEU.
“The ruling still stands and these new plans may actually increase the amount of our personal data that is retained by ISPs, further infringing on our right to privacy.”
Police and security services can access telephone records under the legislation. Information such as when and who an individual called and will be kept by ISPs but the contents of the conversation will not.