The UK state has now admitted that it has been carrying out the bulk collection of all telephone calls (apart from content) in the UK, and has been doing so since at least 2007. MI5 gets the blame, but GCHQ must have had something to do with it.
see url: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34729139
This is the first time that this has been admitted by the government.
This bulk collection has always been done according to UK Law says the Home Secretary, and this statement of law has been re-iterated in the past many many times, though the intelligence government guru Mr. Anderson says that the Act which allows this to be said is somewhat dubious in its wording. There is a secrecy clause in the legislation which has similar effect to an NSA letter, I believe.
The Act of Parliament from which the UK government has derived this authority is: THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT 1984
see url: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/12/section/94
However, the important bit is the following derived (contrived) legislation/instructions, codes of practice, statutory instruments and in conjunction with other bits of security legislation which emanates from it and which the UK government uses to justify this collection.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF BULK COMMUNICATIONS DATA PURSUANT TO DIRECTIONS UNDER SECTION 94 OF The Telecommunications Act of 1984
see url: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/473780/Handling_arrangements_for_Bulk_Communications_Data.pdf
The new Investigatory Powers Bill coming before the UK parliament will bring all the powers of the security and intelligence and law enforcement services up to date, consolidate the powers, give new powers such as the bulk collection and storage of visits to website addresses for one year, to be held by ISP.s and made available to the above services, of everyone in the UK. One of the powers will be dual responsibility for warrants in certain circumstances, a Minister of the Crown and a fully independent Senior High Court Judge, with top security clearance of course. We must protect the people... :-).
At least it is now all out in the open, which is far as I am concerned is a bit of a relief. Our citizens are now becoming very aware of how their private data is being used and are expressing their concerns. No doubt due to those people in soceity who have expressed the almost complete lack of public controls or safegaurds on the use of this information by state entitities, by hacks such as what happened to Talttalk, a huge UK ISP which was compromised by some 15 year old kids...allegedly, Mr. Snowden of course played an important role, as did the secret services themselves, with all their denials
P.S. I have yet to work out where the legislation allows the collection and storage of bulk telephone calls...but there again I am not a lawyer and probably cannot see the wood from the trees as can Mr. Anderson QC...