The UK-US Data Sharing Treaty – a welcome recognition of reality
Setting the benchmark for future CLOUD Act arrangements, the UK-US Agreement will shortly begin to operate. By Michael Drury and Julian Hayes of BCL Solicitors LLP.
As a tumultuous 12 months draws to a close, many of us are understandably looking forward to turning the page on 2020. And though there is much best put behind us, as far as law enforcement in our digital era is concerned, the year will be remembered as seminal with the (perhaps near) implementation of the UK-US Bilateral Data Sharing Agreement(1), which is designed to usher in a streamlined and expeditious exchange of electronic intelligence and evidence in the fight against crime. Belying its dry legalistic language, the Agreement is far from being of esoteric interest only, and affects telecommunications service providers and social media companies both large and small on both sides of the Atlantic. It also represents a significant shift in the approach taken by sovereign states when giving effect to each other’s judicial orders and is – arguably – an overdue recognition that, when those who threaten our safety and security operate without regard for national boundaries, those who seek to protect us need effective tools for the job.