On Monday David Cameron proposed that Britain's Intelligence Agencies should have the legal power to break into the encrypted communications of terrorists, in the wake of the attack in Paris.
The Prime Minister said a future Conservative government would aim to deny terrorists "safe space" to communicate online. Cameron's announcement came just days after a warning from the director general of MI5; Andrew Parker said that the intelligence agencies are in danger of losing the ability to monitor "dark places" on the net.
Parker's proposed legislation would be introduced in the first year of Cameron's second term in Downing Street, if the Conservatives win the election; and would provide a new legal framework for Britain's GCHQ and other intelligence agencies, to crack the communications of terror suspects if there was fear of an imminent attack.
Cameron promised to ensure there would no longer be what officials describe as "no-go" areas on the net where terrorists can hide.
After giving a speech on the economy in Nottingham, Cameron said: "In extremis, it has been possible to read someone's letter, to listen to someone's call, to mobile communications … The question remains: are we going to allow a means of communications where it simply is not possible to do that? My answer to that question is: no, we must not. The first duty of any government is to keep our country and our people safe."
Nick Clegg criticised Cameron for standing up for freedom of expression.
He said: "The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then in the next advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens."
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