Every phone call, text message, email and website visit will be stored for a year for monitoring by the state. All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customers personal communications, showing who they are contacting, when, where and which websites they are visiting. Despite widespread opposition over Britains growing surveillance society, 653 public bodies will be given access to the confidential information, including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service, fire authorities and even prison governors. They will not require the permission of a judge or a magistrate to access the information, but simply the authorisation of a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority. Ministers had originally wanted to store the information on a massive Government-run database, but chose not to because of privacy concerns. However the Government announced yesterday it was pressing ahead with privately-held Big Brother databases which opposition leaders said amount to state-spying and a form of covert surveillance on the public. It is doing so despite its own consultation showing there is little public support for the plans. - Telegraph The Home Office admitted that only a third of respondents to its six-month consultation on the issue supported its proposals, with 50 per cent fearing that the scheme lacked sufficient safeguards to protect the highly personal data from abuse. The new law will increase the amount of personal data which can be accessed by officials through the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which is supposed to be used for combatting terrorism. Although most private firms already hold details of every customers private calls and emails for their own business purposes, most only do so on an ad hoc basis and only for a period of several months. The new rules, known as the Intercept Modernisation Programme, will not only force communication companies to keep their records for longer, but to expand the type of data they keep to include details of every website their customers visit - effectively registering every click online. While public authorities will not be able to view the contents of these emails or phone calls - but they can see the internet addresses, dates, times and users of telephone numbers and texts. The firms involved in keeping the data, such as as Orange, BT and Vodafone, will be reimbursed at a cost to the taxpayer of 2billion over 10 years. Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, said he had fears about the abuse of the data. The big danger in all of this is 'mission creep. This Government keeps on introducing new powers to tackle terrorism and organised crime which end up being used for completely different purposes. We have to stop that from happening. David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, added: What is being proposed is a highly intrusive procedure which would allow Government authorities to maintain covert surveillance on public use of telephones, texts, emails and internet access. He added that the permission to access the data should be granted by judges or magistrates. Whilst this is no doubt necessary in pursuing terrorist suspects, the proposals are so intrusive that they should be subject to legal approval, and should not be available except in pursuit of the most serious crimes, he said. The Information Commissioners Office also opposed the moves. The Information Commissioner believes that the case has yet to be made for the collection and processing of additional communications data for the population as a whole being relevant and not excessive. Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, has criticised the amount the scheme will cost for what is effectively state spying. He said yesterday: Any legislation requiring communications providers to keep data on who called whom and when will need strong safeguards on access. - Telegraph