Long-awaited measures overhauling the laws which govern surveillance by the state are being published on Wednesday.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The draft Investigatory Powers Bill will increase the ability of intelligence services to obtain access to the personal internet history of citizens

  • Communications companies will be required to store records of customers’ phone and internet use for 12 months

  • David Cameron has called the bill will be "one of the most important pieces of legislation" over the course of this five-year parliamentary term

  • It is expected that civil liberties groups will oppose the measures for increasing the ability of the intelligence services to obtain access to the personal internet use of millions of citizens and to mount “data-mining” exercises

  • Mass collection of information will enable police and the intelligence agencies to launch the data-mining programmes which they argue is crucial for tracking terrorists, uncovering paedophiles and finding missing people. However:

    • Councils will be fined if they abuse their powers and their access will be strictly limited to investigation of criminal offences

    • Government sources argue that the bill will strengthen oversight of surveillance and improve transparency

  • There is pressure on the government to ensure that the authority to issue warrants is transferred from ministers to judges

  • Theresa May, the home secretary, has dropped several measures from the so-called "Snooper's Charter" which was opposed by the Lib Dems in the last government

  • The bill is aimed at updating previous surveillance legislation which was introduced 15 years ago

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