We knew of plans to monitor phone calls, emails and what websites we're all looking at, but the UK Government could take its surveillance of citizens a step further - accessing Facebook accounts.

Plans to create a massive database of phone and web traffic has been controversial from the outset, but now home secretary Jacqui Smith has hinted at even more stringent measures.

In a speech, Smith said that the government needs to enforce new laws to keep track of potential terrorists, and these could include giving officials the right to collect online information from social networking and online gaming sites.

Under the present rules, ISPs have to provide officials with information on telephone calls and emails on demand.

But Smith says that social networking websites, online gaming, auction and video websites, in fact any website that offers services for free, do not keep tracking data and therefore "are a potential hotbed for terrorist activity".

New legislation would mean that this data is collected, but officials will only have access to the name and location of the speakers, not the content of the message.

Smith concluded: "There are no plans for an enormous database which will contain the content of your emails, the texts that you send or the chats you have on the phone or online. Local authorities do not have the power to listen to your calls now and they never will in the future".