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UK and US sign agreement to share electronic evidence

(Image credit: Image Credit: Jariyawat Thinsandee / Freepik)

The US and the UK has signed a major information-sharing deal that should make carrying out criminal investigations more straightforward.

When law enforcement agencies build a criminal case against a suspect, they often need to look at that suspect’s online activity. Emails, messaging, the websites they visited, the services they signed up for, or forums they frequented.

If the service in question is in another country, that process can become that much harder as now it would require more paperwork and more legal obstacles to overcome. Well, in the case of the United States and the United Kingdom, that’s no longer an issue.

The two countries signed an agreement earlier this week, allowing law enforcement officials in both countries to demand tech companies in each other’s country electronic evidence needed to build the case. This agreement is the first approved under the CLOUD Act, passed by the US Congress last year.

There are big expectations from the new legislation, as it should “dramatically speed up investigations by removing legal barriers to timely and effective collection of electronic evidence," the US Justice Department said in a statement.

Both parties expect to make use of the law when investigating potential terrorism threats, child sexual abuse and cybercrime.

"Only by addressing the problem of timely access to electronic evidence of crime committed in one country that is stored in another, can we hope to keep pace with 21st Century threats," US Attorney General William Barr said.