The UK public is becoming more aware, and more concerned over, the government's surveillance of its citizens, which at times seems to be spiralling out of control.
Edward Snowden's revelations about PRISM and the GCHQ are the most high profile, but other supposed snooping initiatives such as the Communications Data Bill and mobile phones being seized at UK border controls suggest the government is creating a vast data repository that could hold "zettabytes" of data about citizens.
For some, reassurance from foreign secretary William Hague that "law-abiding" citizens have "nothing to fear" may be enough to dispel any worries.
But the government's capture of data goes far beyond simply tracking criminal activity, according to the executive director at the Open Rights Group (ORG), Jim Killock.
Killock believes that the UK's alleged Tempora programme of tapping and storing all transatlantic network traffic could mean that the government is able to find out enough about individual citizens to make political gains.
"It is able to target political groups, potentially blackmail people, investigate commercial relationships, see who journalists are talking to, determine who a whistleblower is - it is a very very powerful tool," he said.
He added that as security services have abused their powers in the past, there is no reason why they can't do it again.
"It is naïve in the extreme to assume that because this data is being collected by secret services in democratic countries, there will simply be no consequences to that. Countries like the UK and US have frequently abused their surveillance powers for very political purposes, with often quite devastating effects on those people's lives and their democratic cultures," Killock said.
He argued that trade unions, anti-nuclear demonstrators and environmental protesters are all examples of groups that don't pose a threat to national security but have been put under surveillance by intelligence agencies.
"If [the agencies] are not properly supervised and courts aren't properly involved in their decisions to put people under surveillance, then it makes them particularly prone to make these mistakes and leads them to overstep the mark," Killock claimed.
Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said that allegations of GCHQ illegally tapping global internet traffic and phone calls and sharing the data with the US's National Security Agency (NSA) were "unfounded".
It said that in each case where GCHQ sought information from the US, a warrant for interception, signed by a minister, was already in place, suggesting that a single warrant can enable many intercepts or a complete programme to take place.
Killock is concerned that the government is able to grant itself powers under the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to seize data that is not directed at anyone in particular, and the ORG wants the law redrafted so that it is not simply a tool to allow the government to "hoover data up".
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