When the government announced plans to create a massive database of information including who we call, who we email and what we view on the Internet, there was a massive outcry.

Now the UK's privacy tsar has added his own concerns to those of members of the general public.

Speaking at the launch of the Information Commissioner's Office's Annual Report 2008, information commissioner Richard Thomas said the rumoured database of UK phone and internet communications would be "a step too far for the British way of life".

The draft Communications Data Bill is alleged will see details of all calls, emails and internet traffic stored by the Home Office for at least 12 months.

Thomas said in a statement: "There needs to be the fullest public debate about the justification for, and implications of, a specially created database — potentially accessible to a wide range of law-enforcement authorities — holding details of everyone's telephone and internet communications."

He added: "Before major new databases are launched, careful consideration must be given to the impact on individuals' liberties and on society as a whole".

"Sadly, there have been too many developments where there has not been sufficient openness, transparency or public debate."