The government is drawing up plans to scale back senior police officers' surveillance powers in response to last year's ruling by the European Court of Justice making bulk collection of people's internet browsing data illegal.
Government officials have set-up a consultation process to discuss new arrangements that police officials can use to investigate data in cases of serious and organised crime.
According to The Telegraph, the consultation will propose taking away computer surveillance authorisation requests from police officers. Instead, it will suggest setting up a new regulatory body.
Funded from police forces' budgets, the body will work alongside the Investigatory Powers Commissioner. The latter position is currently held by Lord Justice Fulford.
There will also be a new threshold that will determine whether a case is serious enough to warrant surveillance. Only offences where the suspects potentially face more than six months in jail, if tried and found guilty, will justify these surveillance orders.
But ministers also believe that there isn't a significant public demand for regulation of interception methods used by agencies such as MI5 and GCHQ, mainly because they come in response to recent cases of terrorism and organised crime.
Prime minister Theresa May has long cherished much tougher surveillance laws, not just as prime minister, but also when she was home secretary from May 2010 to July 2016. However, she has been repeatedly frustrated by public and political opposition.
However, May finally passed the Investigatory Powers Act last year - only to be frustrated when the European Court of Justice ruled against key elements of it in December.
One of the key measures of the snoopers' charter is a requirement for internet and telecom companies to store customer data for one year, in a database that law enforcement officials can interrogate.
Speaking to The Telegraph, professor Anthony Glees - who leads the centre of security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham - said that Brexit could have a big impact on the government's surveillance laws.
"If there is, as we would expect, a close security relationship with the EU27 after we have Brexited, then the fact that we want to play everything by the ECJ rules will be a very significant message," he said.
A government spokesperson told The Telegraph: "We will be publishing for consultation our proposed response to the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling regarding the retention of communications data on Thursday 30 November."
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