The European Commission wants to negotiate with the United States to facilitate the obtaining of electronic evidence in the framework of investigations beyond the borders of the European Union (EU), announced Tuesday the European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova. The European executive has asked the member states to grant it a negotiating mandate on this point because, currently, the deadlines for European judicial authorities to obtain from American operators the data required for an investigation can reach up to 10 months, on a voluntary basis.
” Criminals use fast and modern technologies to organize their crimes and hide evidence. Much of the data needed to track down these criminals is kept in the United States or by American companies ”, stressed Ms. Jourova. ” It is time to work on a comprehensive agreement between the EU and the United States to speed up the access of our judicial authorities to this evidence ”, she pleaded.
Such an agreement between the EU and Washington would allow the European authorities to approach American service providers directly. The Commission has three objectives: to obtain a response deadline of ten days to provide the requested data, to avoid legal conflicts by agreeing on the definition and types of data covered by the agreement and to guarantee data protection and private life. In April 2018, the Commission proposed an internal EU reform to speed up access to this electronic evidence, data often crucial in criminal and terrorist cases but difficult to obtain in cross-border investigations.
The new rules provide for the creation of a ” European production order “Allowing a judicial authority of an EU country to directly request a” electronic proof »To a provider offering its services in Europe, such as Google, Twitter and Facebook. The reform, described as “revolutionary” by the Commission, is currently being negotiated between the European Parliament and the Member States. Several of them had expressed concerns about the new text, in particular the absence of ” flexibility »From the authorities of a Member State to question a request for access to data made by another country.