In a first-of-its-kind event, United States of America and United Kingdom have together signed an agreement with tech companies, which will allow the law enforcement departments, to easily access their databases for criminal investigations.
On Thursday the Justice Department stated via press release that, this agreement will help in speeding up the investigation processes significantly by eliminating the barriers so that the collection of electronic evidences can get easier. This agreement will give the government of U.K. access to all the data from tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter etc. to gather evidences related to child abuse, sexual harassment and other serious cases. U.S. authorities will also have access to data from British Communication Service Providers.
Before this agreement, law enforcement agencies had to go through lots of paperwork and could only avail access to those data if the government permitted it, which could take years. According to U.K. Home Office, this process will take just a week or two.
William Barr, Attorney General in US, said that the only way to face and tackle the threats in 21st century is by having timely access to electronic databases and evidences of crimes which may be stored in some other country.
This pact will become effective after getting approved by UK and US lawmakers. This agreement was reached under the CLOUD or Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data act which was setup back in 2018. This act allows the government of US to have bilateral agreements with other countries over the use of electronic data which may be stored in other countries.
However, this agreement will not prevent those companies from applying end-to-end encryption which is important for the privacy of the users.
US and UK lawmakers have sent an open letter to Facebook in an effort to make them stop their encryption program across their platform as they believe it will hinder law enforcement agencies from taking fast actions.