Modern day criminal investigations are increasingly reliant upon online evidence, which may be stored internationally and require months of judicial process to gain access to. Negotiations are set to begin between the European Union and the United States to speed up the process by which electronic evidence is exchanged between nations in criminal investigations.
Currently, the US must abide by EU data protection laws, which can complicate the process in turning over electronic evidence involving EU citizens. The proposed agreement re-works this framework to allow for a more efficient exchange of evidence without the legal risk for U.S. companies. The agreement also focuses on gaining direct cooperation with international internet service providers to shorten the time required to obtain the requested information.
European Commissioner Julian King made a statement on the importance of the negotiations: “For far too long, criminals and terrorists have been abusing modern technology to commit their crimes. By setting international standards to obtain access to electronic evidence, we are taking yet another step to close the space in which they operate by ensuring law enforcement authorities can more effectively investigate and prosecute them, with full regard for fundamental rights.”
While the thought of an increased speed of evidence exchange sounds beneficial, citizens’ rights to data protection and privacy must prioritized. For this reason, it is suspected negotiations will take a considerable amount of time to reach a conclusion.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology