The government is considering monitoring and then storing all data traffic that could appear in the likes of Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and other social networking sites - which would currently cover around 25 million users in the UK alone - onto its central database due to fears that Internet criminals and possible terrorists are utilising the services for their own ends.
Such news has alarmed civil liberties groups but Vernon Coaker, Minister of State for policing, crime and security, told The Telegraph that, "I accept this is an extremely difficult area. The interface between retaining data, private security and all such issues of privacy is extremely important. It is absolutely right to point out the difficulty of ensuring we maintain a capability and a capacity to deal with crime and issues of national security and where that butts up against issues of privacy."
Isabella Sankey, policy director of the civil rights pressure group Liberty, said, "Even before you throw Facebook and other social networking sites into the mix, the proposed telecommunications database is a terrifying prospect. It would allow the government to record every email, text message and phone call and would turn millions of innocent Britons into permanent suspects."
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