Under new legislation being announced by the Home Secretary later, the web browsing history of every person in the UK will be recorded for a year.
The data will include all the sites a person visits but not the individual pages within that site, and the police will be able to access it without a warrant.
The new draft Investigatory Powers Bill is an attempt to bring different surveillance powers of the security services and police under one comprehensive piece of legislation.
The bill will be examined by both Houses of Parliament before voting on the final version of the bill in 2016.
The former head of National Counter Terrorism Security Office, Chris Phillips, said: "The world has moved on so quickly: people communicate on many different platforms, whether it's WhatsApp, whether it's Facebook, whether it's email or telephone.
"So it's really important that the laws keep up. [Without new laws] we'd be in a very dangerous place."
Communications data is the who, where and when of a message, whereas content is the what. The content requires a warrant whereas the communications data does not.
As it stands the UK government currently has the legal power to make a company provide "content in the clear". This power has not yet been tested within the law however and could be contentious if retained in the new bill.
Return to internet news headlines
View Internet News Archive