Plaid Cymru have accused the UK's coalition government of attempting to create a “surveillance state”. Ministers have today (14 June) published the draft Communications Bill, which includes plans to monitor people's activity on social network sites, email, online gaming and internet phone calls.
Plaid, whose name means 'Party of Wales' in Welsh, said that the proposals would create a society in which all citizens are suspects.
The bill has been branded as a "snooper's charter" by civil liberties campaigners, who say it would see the entire population being subjected to intrusion in order to tackle the criminal behaviour of a small minority.
"The previous Labour government set a precedent of draconian security measures and it is deeply worrying that the coalition is intending to follow suit with this latest bill,” said Elfyn Llwyd MP, Plaid's leader at Westminster, today.
Plaid said that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, should be striving for a balance between liberty and security. Llwyd said, "It is small comfort that the content of messages will not be available considering that the 'who, when and where' of communications will be easily obtainable with just a warrant".
Plaid also criticised the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, who claims that more access to data is necessary in order to wage a "total war on crime". Llwyd insisted that such “vague declarations” have repeatedly ended in failure in the past.
He added, “Considering the failure of the 'war on terror' and 'war on drugs', Plaid Cymru have consistently maintained that a more restorative approach would prove more beneficial than simplistic and vague soundbites”.
Plaid called on the government to rethink the bill so that “the very values which shape our democracy are not further eroded”.
Plaid Cymru is a socialist party working for an independent Wales within the European Union.