Law Society's response to the Queen's Speech: Communication Bill
The proposed legislation seeks to "maintain the ability" of the authorities "to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public".
The proposals are set out more fully in the Home Office press release (PDF).
A Law Society spokesperson said: "Vast quantities of communications data are generated about UK subjects through their telephone calls, web, and social media use. Such data can build a highly detailed picture of a person's life including their associates, their location, and their interests.
"In a democratic society the needs of law enforcement will always need to be balanced against the rights of the individual. However, proposals for mass surveillance of the kind proposed in the Draft Communications Data Bill, call for greater scrutiny than more limited and targeted measures. In a global internet environment in which more data than ever is already available to the authorities there needs to be a firm legal basis, workable mechanisms and a proven need to collect more.
"The relationship between developing technologies, government IT and surveillance systems and their legal frameworks has not always been a happy one. Individuals have a right to privacy and the Law Society and its members will seek to contribute to the debate which is already underway."