- American and British representatives are reportedly negotiating an agreement that would allow the United Kingdom to give wiretap orders directly to communications firms in the United States to help with criminal and national security investigations.
- Under the proposal, the British government could also serve orders to obtain stored data, which includes emails and online chat data.
- If an agreement is reached, foreign governments like the U.K. could more quickly and efficiently obtain data held by American companies.
Under current laws, foreign governments must rely on a legal process that can take an average of 10 months in order to obtain stored emails. Under the new agreement, obtaining data would be a much faster process and could accelerate ongoing investigations.
The proposed agreement is reciprocal, so the U.S. government could also request a British provider's stored data. However, each country would still need to follow the other country’s laws to obtain warrants.
Digital data is increasingly creating national security and privacy challenges. Last month, Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, proposed bipartisan legislation to create a national commission on security and technology that would address how intelligence officials can monitor terrorist's encrypted communications used to plan attacks.