Industry hits out at Gov's new internet snooping laws

The emphasis on real-time data could also pose problems for GCHQ's own systems and hinder the work it is trying to do, added Wynn. "Given the enormous number of transactions involved, GCHQ [could] suffer from information overload, trying to sift through millions of calls, emails, texts and web visits to find what they are looking for, rather than analysing patterns in historic data."

The Information Commissioner's Office said it will be keeping close tabs on the Home Office's work in this area.

"The Information Commissioner's role in this Home Office project has been to press for the necessary limitations and safeguards to mitigate the impact on citizens' privacy," the ICO said.

"We will continue to seek assurances [but] ultimately, the decision to proceed with the project is one which has to be taken by Parliament."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.