Public told: Let us spy on you online more to keep you safe

Members of the public need to give up some of their privacy online, such as by allowing police to monitor data about emails, in order to be safe from criminals in the internet age.

That's according to the director general of the National Crime Agency, Keith Bristow. In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Bristow acknowledged it would be necessary to gain “the public consent to losing some freedoms" in return for their security. But he warned current powers needed to be "modernised".

"We are running some very serious risks," he said. "This is about public safety – we need the powers to do our job in a digital age. We need to set out our case."

The National Crime Agency replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency in 2013 and is loosely known as Britain's FBI. Mr Bristow's warning comes shortly after the FBI's director James Comey said the internet was "the most dangerous parking lot imaginable".

"Cybercrime is becoming everything in crime," Mr Comey said. "Again, because people have connected their entire lives to the internet, that's where those who want to steal money or hurt kids or defraud go. So it's an epidemic for reasons that make sense," he said.

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