Described as an ‘extraordinary measure for extraordinary threats’, direct data access is one of three proposals to speed up investigations
The European Union is seeking to make it easier for police and law enforcement agencies to retrieve electronic evidence from US tech firms, including directly from cloud storage.
In the wake of terrorists attacks across Europe, the European Commission is proposing new legislation to speed up the transfer of crucial data from companies such as Facebook and Google, even when it is stored in another EU member state – which is often a slow process.
The EC is set to propose three options that will form the basis of a future legislative proposal.
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said: “I am sure that now in the shadow of the recent terrorist attacks and increasing threats in Europe there will be more understanding among the ministers, even among those who come from countries where there has not been a terrorist attack.”
EU justice ministers are to meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the EC’s proposals, which will then form the basis of a motion put forward by the EU executive by early 2018.
Of the three EC proposals, the least intrusive option involves allowing law enforcement agencies in one member state to ask an IT provider in another member state to turn over electronic evidence, without having to ask that member state first.
The second option would see the companies obliged to turn over data if requested by law enforcement agencies in other member countries.
The most intrusive option, allowing law enforcement agencies direct access to information in the cloud, is being suggested for situations where authorities do not know the location of the server hosting the data or there is a risk of the data being lost.