Monday, 09 April 2018 11:57

Australia to seek data access agreement with US: report

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Australia is expected to seek an agreement with the US in order to gain access to data located there when needed upon execution of a local warrant with a US tech outfit.

A report in Fairfax Media said Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor would visit the US soon to set the stage for an agreement.

The report comes in the wake of the passage of the CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act by the US on 23 March. The law was driven by a case filed by the Department of Justice which has sought emails from Microsoft that are stored in Ireland.

The passage of the Act was welcomed by Taylor, who said in a statement on Sunday: "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.

"Timely access to electronic data held by communications service providers is an essential component of government efforts to protect public safety and combat serious crime, including terrorism, child sex offences, and organised crime.

"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."

The case between Microsoft and the DoJ is now irrelevant as the department has filed a fresh warrant under the new law. However, it has not been officially dismissed as yet.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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