London Guardian 
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2008
Local councils, health authorities and hundreds of other public bodies are to be given the power to access details of everyone’s personal text, emails and internet use under Home Office proposals published yesterday.
Ministers want to make it mandatory for telephone and internet companies to keep details of all personal internet traffic for at least 12 months so it can be accessed for investigations into crime or other threats to public safety.
The Home Office last night admitted that the measure will mean companies have to store “a billion incidents of data exchange a day”. As the measure is the result of an EU directive, the data will be made available to public investigators across Europe.
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The consultation paper published yesterday estimates that it will cost the internet industry over £50m to store the mountain of data.
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats last night branded the measure a “snooper’s charter”.
When the measure was floated after the London bombings in 2005 by the then home secretary, Charles Clarke, it was justified on the grounds that it was needed to investigate terrorist plots and organised crime. But the Home Office document makes clear that the personal data will now be available for all sorts of crime and public order investigations and may even be used to prevent people self-harming.