Bill Clinton's Web guru has come out against Tony Blair's Internet snooping plans - saying they are tantamount to turning Britain into a police state.
Esther Dyson, adviser to the US president, said the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill should be scrapped, today's Times newspaper reports.
"You don't want a police state. Crime is crime, but that doesn't mean you can have a law making everyone keep their curtains up to help the police," she said.
Dyson, who is also chairwoman of Internet body ICANN and of venture capitalist group Edventure Holdings, said the Blair administration's proposals were part of an international disease.
"The UK is not uniquely clueless on this. This is what governments do, they control things. But the Government needs to have the courage and the faith to leave people alone," she said, adding she was relieved that RIP had run into opposition.
The bill finished its committee stage in the House of Lords last week - where it ran into such criticism that Ministers were forced to make amendments to some of the proposals. It is due to go to the Report Stage in the Lords next week.
FIPR has published an analysis of these amendments, but still feels the bill is likely to "cause critical damage to business confidence". Its findings can be found here
A Home Office spin doctor today denied the allegations made by Internet expert Dyson. "It's certainly not about creating a police state...it's about bringing existing legislation up to date," he said.
So that's OK then. ®