Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Thursday, 28 October 2010 16:55 UK

MP warns against 'privatised surveillance society'

An MP has warned that Britain is "sleepwalking towards a privatised surveillance society" during a debate in Westminster Hall on 28 October 2010 on internet privacy.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, said he was concerned about abuses of privacy by major organisations such as Google and Facebook.

He was particularly concerned about data collected by Google through the design of its "Streetview" service, which has been banned in certain countries.

He called for the creation of an internet bill of rights and an independent commission into data security.

The Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, promised to write to Google, Facebook and major internet service providers (ISPs) to organise a meeting on data protection.

However he told MPs that being online didn't mean that things were unregulated, saying that "illegal activity is illegal activity wherever it occurs".

Speaking on behalf of the opposition, Shadow Business Minister Ian Lucas said "regulation should only be a last resort".

Meanwhile Conservative backbencher Mike Weatherley warned against the internet becoming a "free for all".

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