Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Data Stored Abroad: Ensuring Lawful Access and Privacy Protection in the Digital Era.”

As the use of technology has spread around the world, international conflicts of law concerning law enforcement’s access to stored data outside of its respective country’s borders have presented many challenges. Both the United States and foreign governments, when conducting criminal investigations within their respective countries, face many barriers to obtaining stored data that is kept outside of their borders. Varying legal and privacy standards, as well as cumbersome delays under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT), have contributed to this issue.

Conflicting legislative proposals attempt to solve this problem, differing primarily in the way that they address law enforcement’s ability to gain access to data stored abroad.  The government focuses its proposal on who has custody and control over the data, whereas providers attempt to place the focus on the nationality of the individual whose data is being sought.  Moreover, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom have negotiated a bilateral, reciprocal agreement that would permit law enforcement in each country to obtain evidence directly from providers through a lawful process rather than having to proceed through their respective counterpart governments in the MLAT process.  However, Congress would need to act to implement this agreement.

Witnesses for the hearing are:
Panel I:

  • Mr. Richard Downing, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Mr. Paddy McGuinness, UK Deputy National Security Advisor, Oxford, UK

Panel II:

  • Mr. Richard Salgado, Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security, Google
  • Mr. Richard Littlehale, Special Agent in Charge, Technical Services Unit, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  • Mr. Chris Calabrese, Vice President, Policy, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Professor Andrew Keane Woods, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Kentucky College of Law

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below in advance of this hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “In today’s digital age where the internet knows no boundaries, U.S. technology companies have flourished internationally and provide services to customers and subscribers around the world. However, international conflicts of law concerning access to stored data pose many challenges for law enforcement both in the U.S. and abroad and raise privacy concerns. This week, the House Judiciary Committee will examine the many issues surrounding data stored overseas and hear from top government, private sector, and academic officials on this important subject. We will also examine the merits of proposals to address these challenges.  We must ensure that any solution to this issue protects both Americans’ civil liberties and helps law enforcement do their jobs of keeping us safe from criminals.”

This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov.  Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.

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