The UK is reportedly considering legislation that would require service providers to share web browsing, email, and phone calling data with the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in real-time. The British government's Home Office (responsible for anti-terrorism and crime prevention) confirmed that this legislation could be introduced as "soon as parliamentary time allows." The GCHQ can't currently access the contents of people's emails or calls without contacting a service provider with a warrant. However, these new laws would require ISPs to share who people contact, how long the are in contact for, and what websites users visit — the contents of specific messages would remain protected without a warrant.

The Home Office said in a statement that "it is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public." However, Conservative MP and frequent critic of the government David Davis said that this proposed legislation is "an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people." Another objection came from Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaigning group, who called the bill "an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran."

This fairly invasive legislation still has a long way to go before being passed; while the current plan is for it to be announced in the Queen's speech in May, it would still need to make it through Parliament, with the potential for objections from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This isn't the first time the UK has tried to create a government database on its citizens' phone calls and internet usage either — the previous Labour Government had to drop its bid after widespread opposition and anger. It wouldn't surprise us to see this proposal met with the same outrage.