Egg inspectors among obscure bodies who can monitor our emails

The trickle of leaks and off-the-record briefings over the forthcoming report of the Draft Communications Data Bill committee is slowly increasing. Tom Harper writes in the Evening Standard:

Hundreds of obscure public authorities could be given anti-terror powers that would allow the state to monitor everyone’s emails, internet use and mobile phone calls.

The Government has asked thousands of officials, including “egg marketing inspectors” and “senior fish health inspectors”, to apply to use a proposed law intended for the police and security services.

Phone companies, internet service providers and companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter would be forced to store details of internet site visits, email access and mobile phone calls for 12 months.

The powers in the draft Communications Data Bill have triggered protests from civil liberty campaigners and has divided the Coalition.

The Lib-Dems are poised to withdraw their support for the Bill next week when a committee of MPs is expected to say that the case for such powers has not been made.

“Nick Clegg wants to kill it and this is a good opportunity,” said a party source.

Meanwhile, Tom Newton Dunn writes in the Sun:

NICK Clegg has sparked fury among security chiefs by trying to delay new powers to probe the internet by another year.

The Lib Dem boss has asked PM David Cameron to kick any law for online snooping into 2014 at the earliest.

Plans for internet service providers to hold on to all online activity for a year should have been in place for the London Olympics.

But Mr Clegg insisted on a 12-month scrutiny of the Communications Data Bill over civil liberties concerns.

Security bosses have pleaded for the closely-supervised powers as terrorists, crime bosses and paedophiles plot freely on Facebook and Skype.

The Deputy PM’s latest delaying tactic has ignited a Coalition clash with Home Secretary Theresa May, who vowed to push the plans through as soon as possible.

One would barely know they were reporting reactions to the same Bill.