The British Government is to set up an Internet monitoring centre capable of tracking every email and surfing hit in the country, reports the Associated Press.

The new centre, established as part of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, will be called the Government Technical Assistance Centre. The Bill is expected to become law this Autumn.

The Bill gives law enforcement agencies the power to demand Internet users hand over their encryption keys to decode encrypted messages, the Bill also makes it an offence to refuse to hand such information over to the authorities.

Critics argue that enforced revelation of privacy keys will slow the acceptance of e-commerce by the British public. Civil liberties campaigners complain that the Bill infringes on civil rights.

The Government argues the Bill protects the individual, by clarifying people’s rights and responsibilities as regards the Internet.