Legislation described as "emergency" will be brought in next week to force phone and internet companies to keep records of phone calls, texts and internet use. The proposals were agreed by all three main parties out of public view in the course of this week.
This follows a recent ruling of the European Court of Justice that such powers entail "a wide ranging and particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data".
MPs, civil society groups and the public have not had the chance to review this legislation nor to give it the detailed consideration that it merits.
Pirate Party Leader Loz Kaye said:
"Once again this is a cynical attempt to increase the grip of mass surveillance on the British people. This time, it is justified under the guise of 'sticking it to Europe' by a clearly rattled Tory party. The European Court of Justice said the Data Protection directive violates two basic rights - respect for private life and protection of personal data. Those are our freedoms worth defending, whoever chooses to stick up for them.
No one who has followed the Snowden revelations can be in any doubt that the UK has extensive capabilities. The real lesson to be learned is that spying on us all does not stop some people becoming radicalised, or detect everyone planning to go to Syria or Iraq to fight.
This back-room deal between all three main parties is nothing short of a stitch up. It appears that the Sun newspaper knew about this before many MPs and the British public. That is no way to run a democracy."