London: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron defended controversial plans to monitor all calls and emails in the country, as a backlash over the proposals grew within the coalition government.
   
David Cameron sought to downplay worries that the proposals for an extended surveillance network covering the public's phone calls, texts, and web activity would erode civil liberties. Monitoring digital communication is "absolutely vital" in stopping serious crime and terrorism, he stressed.
   
"This is not about extending the reach of the state into people's data, it's about trying to keep up with modern technology," he said yesterday.
   
The proposed network has been criticized by members of Cameron's Conservative Party as well as their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.
   
It is not yet clear what the changes will mean for the public. The government has said that only data such as times, dates, and addresses will be recorded, and that the contents of any communication will not be accessible without a warrant.
   
Home Secretary Theresa May insisted that the proposed legal changes, expected to be presented next month, will not target ordinary people.
   
"No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts. Only suspected terrorists, pedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated," May said.

(Agencies)