Data Warrants Across the Pond: Envisioning A More Sustainable Process

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UK-USDOJ Proposed United States – United Kingdom Agreement on Secure and Privacy – Protective Exchange of Electronic Data for the Purposes of Countering Serious Crime, Including Terrorism

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Due to the global popularity of U.S. electronic communications services, foreign countries increasingly require access to electronic evidence held by U.S. providers for their legitimate public safety needs. Yet the labor-intensive mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) process has struggled to meet the exponential growth in demand for such evidence, and it requires foreign countries to satisfy unfamiliar U.S. legal standards. Countries have responded to these challenges with threats to cut off or fine such services or require data to be stored locally.

Some, like the U.K., have enacted laws to compel the production of electronic communications data held outside their borders when it pertains to a U.K. crime, but U.S. law prohibits providers from disclosing the contents of communications directly to foreign governments, with few exceptions. This is so even when the offenders and victims are all U.K. citizens, and the only connection to the United States is that the data happens to be located here – for purely technological and business reasons. So how does an American company respond to a foreign production order when doing so may violate U.S. law? What solutions are there to resolve these potential conflicts? And what are the risks if nothing is done?

We’ll check in on transatlantic efforts by the US and UK governments to develop a framework to resolve this impasse while at the same time providing robust protections for privacy and civil liberties. Providers, governments, academics, and others agree the status quo is unsustainable. But what mechanisms should we adopt and what protections for privacy and civil liberties should be built into such frameworks? This is an important topic at the crossroads of public safety, civil liberties, diplomacy, and tech policy that will undoubtedly become a major issue in the coming year.


Kevin Adams – First Secretary, Home Affairs, U.K. Embassy (Bio)
Margaret Stewart Nagle – Head of Americas Government Affairs, Yahoo (Bio)
Gregory T. Nojeim – Senior Counsel – Center for Democracy & Technology (Bio)
Brad Wiegmann – Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, U.S.Department of Justice (Bio)
Andrew Woods – Assistant Professor of Law – University of Kentucky School of Law (Bio)
Carrie Cordero – Principal – Cordero Advisory Services, LLC (Bio)
Date: Friday, June 15th, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226
Follow: @NetCaucusAC | #XPondWarrants