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Ministers are to consider plans for a database of electronic information holding details of every phone call and e-mail sent in the UK, it has emerged.
The plans, reported in the Times, are at an early stage and may be included in the draft Communications Bill later this year, the Home Office confirmed.
A Home Office spokesman said the data was a "crucial tool" for protecting national security and preventing crime.
Ministers have not seen the plans which were drawn up by Home Office officials.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The Communications Data Bill will help ensure that crucial capabilities in the use of communications data for counter-terrorism and investigation of crime continue to be available.
"These powers will continue to be subject to strict safeguards to ensure the right balance between privacy and protecting the public."