David Cameron has said that he wants a fresh push on ‘modernising’ laws to allow for monitoring of online activity after the next general election.
Speaking to a parliamentary committee, the Prime Minister said that the gathering of communications data was “politically contentious” but argued that it was vital in keeping UK citizens safe.
Mr Cameron said: “Over time we are going to have to modernise the legislative framework and practice when it comes to dealing with communications data.
“I’m not sure we’ll make progress on it in the coming months in terms of legislation,” he continued, “But there may be some things short of legislation which we can do.”
The Prime Minister said that the ‘sense’ he had was that the British public’s attitude to the Snowden revelations was that they showed the intelligence services were doing their job of keeping people safe.
He warned that politicians, police chiefs and the intelligence services all had to explain why changes were needed.
Mr Cameron said: “We have got to make this explanation very clearly, really get it out to people and then build, perhaps from the start of the next Parliament, a cross party case for sensible legislation to deal with this issue.”
Emma Carr, Deputy Director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It’s clear that the public have no idea about the true scale of surveillance already going on and that’s why the entire legal framework for surveillance needs reviewing and reforming wholesale.”
She continued: “If the Prime Minister wants to update the law, this is absolutely necessary and we would welcome the opportunity to have that debate”.