Records of personal communications will be stored for up to a year under EU proposals to be settled next month claims Statewatch, an independent group monitoring threats to privacy and civil liberties in the EU.

The EU proposals would mean traffic data – including emails, faxes, calls via mobile phones and landlines, and Internet data – could be held for between a 12 and 24-month period to be accessed by Europe-based law-enforcement agencies.

The proposals leaked to Statewatch, note that law-enforcement agencies will have the right to access the data for the "purposes of criminal investigation".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor said: "Under the guise of fighting terrorism everyone's communications are to be placed under surveillance."

Moves have already been made to amend the 1997 EC Directive on data protection that permits data to be stored for billing enquiries for customers' benefit. The amendments include calls to erase data that has been deleted, an insistence that EU member-states are allowed to pass laws requiring that communications providers keep traffic data for a limited period only.