The Australian government has backed the United States Congress’ CLOUD Act which enables American law enforcement agencies like the FBI to access data, with a warrant, that is stored on servers in the U.S. or overseas.
Angus Taylor, minister for law enforcement and cyber security, said on Sunday that the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), is a significant step in international law enforcement and co-operation in the digital age.
“The CLOUD Act will greatly improve the efficiency of law enforcement’s access to the information they need to do their job and strengthen protections of people’s data, no matter where their data is held,” Taylor said.
“Timely access to electronic data held by communications service providers is an essential component of government efforts to protect safety and combat serious crime, including terrorism, child sex offences, and organised crime.”
Taylor said those efforts are impeded when access to important data held on servers overseas is slowed down by cumbersome processes not suited for fast-advancing communication environments, significantly delaying the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes.
“Given the size and scale of technology and communications companies based in the US, the CLOUD Act has the potential to be of significant benefit to law enforcement. Australia welcomes the US taking leadership on this issue,” Taylor said.
The new legislation allows bilateral agreements between the U.S. and other countries, which will enable more efficient lawful access to relevant data.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday morning, the federal government is looking to strike a deal with the American government that would enable Australian police to take a warrant to US IT companies and access a suspected criminal’s data.
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