The U.S. and U.K. have entered into an agreement that will make it easier for law enforcement to request data in serious criminal investigations.
If a crime is committed in one country but the electronic data is stored in another, it can take law enforcement years to jump through legal hoops to get it. That can be a major problem in a quick-moving investigation. The new agreement — announced in a joint statement on Thursday — lets the U.S. and U.K. request data from tech companies in either country without legal barriers.
Attorney General William Barr said, "Only by addressing the problem of timely access to electronic evidence ... can we hope to keep pace with twenty-first century threats."
But it's important to note this agreement doesn't do anything to stop companies from encrypting data, like Facebook does with WhatsApp. The U.S., U.K. and Australia published an open letter to Facebook on Thursday requesting that the company address safety concerns before it implements a plan to encrypt messages across all its platforms.