US, UK sign landmark data-sharing agreement
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US, UK sign landmark data-sharing agreement

The US and the UK entered into the CLOUD Act Agreement Thursday, the world’s first transnational agreement allowing law enforcement agencies to demand electronic data regarding serious crime directly from tech companies based in the other country.

This agreement, signed by US Attorney General William Barr and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, is targeted at serious crimes such as terrorism, transnational organized crime, child sexual abuse, and cybercrime and would significantly speed up investigations into such crimes.

Congress passed the CLOUD Act last year, authorizing the US to enter into bilateral executive agreements with rights-respecting partners to remove legal barriers to the other party’s access to electronic data for certain criminal investigations. The UK parliament passed the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act in 2019 that facilitated this agreement.

The agreement will enter into force following a six-month Congressional review period mandated by the CLOUD Act and a related review by the UK Parliament.