Civil liberties groups have criticised plans for the government to be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK.
Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications in real time under new legislation set to be announced soon.
Former shadow home secretary David Davis told the Today programme's Evan Davis that the extension of monitoring powers is unnecessary and will be resented by citizens.
New legislation would make existing privacy issues "60 million times worse", he said.
Mr Davis said the idea that "this needs to be done because it can be done... has been the attitude of many securicrats across the ages".
But Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, disagreed.
"2012 could be an extremely dangerous year for the UK", because of the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, he argued.
"We have to understand that there are some very dangerous people out there who do communicate with each other."
"If it can prevent terrorism we should certainly do it."
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