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EU ruling makes it easier to get evidence from tech companies

(Image credit: Image Credit: Denzel / Pixabay)

Governments of some EU countries have agreed on a tougher set of rules to allow law enforcement agencies easier access to electronic evidence from technology companies stored in other EU countries.

The draft, which was first written in April, gives companies 10 days to comply with police requests, or six days in case of an emergency. If they fail to do so, they’re looking at a two per cent yearly global turnover fine.

Companies that are covered by the draft include telecommunications companies, ISPs and online marketplaces.

“Electronic evidence is becoming a vital element in criminal proceedings. Nowadays criminals use rapid cutting-edge communication technology which does not stop at borders,” Austrian Justice Minister Josef Moser said.

France, Spain, Ireland and Belgium are among the countries in support of such a bill.

However, not everyone agrees with stricter rules, A number of EU countries abstained from supporting the draft, including Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Greece.

Amazon, e-Bay, Facebook and Google, as part of the CCIA tech lobbying group, have also voiced their dissatisfaction with the bill, saying it lacks balance.

“We regret that today’s Council vote increases the risks of conflicts between laws for companies and poses risks to individuals’ fundamental rights,” Alexandre Roure, CCIA’s senior public policy manager, said.

BSA | The Software Alliance was also displeased.

“We seriously doubt that the Council’s approach will deliver upon the initial goal of an effective law enforcement procedure. We need to be able to properly protect our customers’ data from abusive production orders,” said BSA’s director general, Thomas Boue.

Image Credit: Denzel / Pixabay