Security Union: Commission receives mandate to start negotiating international rules for obtaining electronic evidence

Avramopoulos 2019.jpg

European Union, 2019 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


On 06 June 2019, EU Member States agreed to give two mandates to the Commission to engage in international negotiations to improve cross-border access to electronic evidence in criminal investigations.The Council agreed to provide the Commission with negotiating mandates for negotiations with the United States and for the Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe “Budapest” Convention on Cybercrime. Both mandates include provisions on strong fundamental rights safeguards on data protection, privacy and the procedural rights of individuals, which will have to be an integral part of any future agreement.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Criminals operate across borders and the evidence we need to investigate their crimes is often in other jurisdictions. Our law enforcement authorities need to be able to swiftly get access to this evidence. As of today, we can get to work in negotiating these frameworks with the United States and the Council of Europe.”  

Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová said: “I welcome the strong support from Member States to the Commission approach for an EU-wide agreement with the United States. For most criminal investigations today it is necessary to obtain online evidence from service providers abroad. It is therefore crucial to address conflicts of law and establish clear common rules. Any agreement will of course have to guarantee at least the same strong fundamental rights safeguards as within the EU. “

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “For far too long, criminals and terrorists have been abusing modern technology to commit their crimes. By setting international standards to obtain access to electronic evidence, we are taking yet another step to close the space in which they operate by ensuring law enforcement authorities can more effectively investigate and prosecute them, with full regard for fundamental rights.”

With the majority of criminal investigations requiring access to evidence based online and often outside the EU, it is crucial to ensure an effective cooperation and compatible rules at international level. The decisions adopted today by the Council provide the Commission with the directives to negotiate an agreement with the U.S. and on the Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe “Budapest” Convention on Cybercrime, more specifically:

  •     Negotiations with the United States: The agreement should address legal conflicts and set common rules for orders by a judicial authority in one country to obtain electronic evidence held by a service provider in another. It should also allow for a transfer of electronic evidence directly, and on a reciprocal basis, by a service provider in one country to a requesting authority in another.
  •     Negotiations on a Second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention: The Commission has been given a mandate to engage in the negotiations on behalf of the European Union and its Member States to ensure that the agreed Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Budapest Convention on Cybercrime is compatible with EU law, as well as the proposed EU rules on cross-border access to electronic evidence.

In both cases, the mandates require strong and specific safeguards on data protection, privacy and the procedural rights of individuals based on fundamental rights, freedoms and general principles of EU law in the Treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Next Steps

The Commission intends to launch negotiations with the U.S. ahead of the next EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting in Bucharest on 19 June.

The negotiations on the Second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention have been ongoing since 2017, and as of now the Commission will negotiate on behalf of the European Union.

Before an agreement can be signed and concluded, the Commission will have to obtain a separate authorisation from Member States. The European Parliament will also be informed and will have to consent before an agreement can be signed and concluded.

Moreover, the Commission’s objective remains to first finalise the EU’s internal rules on cross-border access to electronic e-evidence before finalising international agreements.

Background

Electronic evidence is needed in around 85% of criminal investigations, and in two-thirds of these investigations there is a need to obtain evidence from online service providers based in another country. Currently, the largest service providers have their headquarters in the U.S. The number of requests to the main online service providers continues to increase and grew by 84% in the period 2013-2018.

In June 2017, the Parties to the Council of Europe ‘Budapest’ Convention on Cybercrime already agreed to start negotiations for a Second Additional Protocol to the Convention enhancing international cooperation on cybercrime and electronic evidence.

In the April 2015 European Agenda on Security, the Commission committed to review obstacles to criminal investigations. Following the tragic events in Brussels on 22 March 2016, EU Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs prioritised passing measures to secure and obtain digital evidence more efficiently and effectively. The issue has since been discussed several times by EU Ministers and in April 2018 the Commission proposed new rules for cross-border access to electronic evidence. In October 2018, European Leaders called on the Commission to urgently submit negotiating mandates for the international agreements on electronic evidence. It has also been discussed in the context of the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meetings. The Commission presented two negotiating mandates, one for negotiations with the United States and one on the Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe “Budapest” Convention on Cybercrime in February 2019.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eurozone: A Sluggish economy offers no extra jobs

The Parliament paves the way for the creation of the European Banking Union

Libya: Thousands seek shelter in health clinics from Tripoli fighting, UN warns

These 5 countries are home to more than half the world’s forests

5 libraries doing innovative things to help their communities

Health equity and accessibility for migrants is a peremptory demand

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

UN rights chief slams ‘unconscionable’ US border policy of separating migrant children from parents

Burning Amazon rainforests: Darting towards the doom of Human Race

New round of bargaining for the 2014 EU budget late in autumn

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

Vendor Pulse – 2000

A shortened EU Summit admits failures, makes risky promises

Africa will develop with oil and gas – whether the West likes it or not

‘Endemic’ sexual violence surging in South Sudan: UN human rights office

Europe bewildered by radicalisation and terrorism

These 4 scenarios show how we might be working in the future

We had the hottest June ever this year – this is what happened around the world

Swedish PM Löfven: “Our common values must guide us to an even better future”

Towards the new era of medicine

Do men and women really have different leadership styles?

How can the EU hit net-zero emissions?

We lack a global framework for saving our environment. Here’s how we change that

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

The European Brain Drain: hard facts and harder truths

Latin America is a mass-transit powerhouse. But it needs fine-tuning

A Year in China

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

World food security increasingly at risk due to ‘unprecedented’ climate change impact, new UN report warns

Zuckerberg preaches that Artificial Intelligence will protect Data Privacy in Facebook whereas Verhofstadt demands the big European state to take charge

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

Eurozone: Despite anemic growth and shaky banks marks record trade surplus

The Next Web 2014, the biggest European conference on Internet so far and the Absence of Brussels from Amsterdam

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

The impact of refugees on the European healthcare system

We can feed the world in a sustainable way, but we need to act now

Contact the Sting

From ‘dead on the inside’ to ‘truly alive’: Survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda recounts her story as UN marks 25th anniversary

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Opposite cultures: Should it be a problem?

Connected Claims Europe on 18-19 September 2019, in association with The European Sting

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

German synagogue shooting ‘another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism’: UN chief

The sad show of Brexit

Food system failures in our age of abundance

The Central Mediterranean migration route in times of COVID-19

Google’s hot summer never ends: EC to launch ANOTHER antitrust inquiry against the American giant

Around 600,000 Afghan children face death through malnutrition without emergency funds: UNICEF

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

‘We need to stand up now’ for the elderly: urges UN rights expert on World Day

EU/African, Caribbean and Pacific partnership: MEPs list key aims for renewal

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

Female directors reached record highs in 2019 Hollywood

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

These 4 trends are shaping the future of your job

Reset or perish: A guide to adaptive leadership

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s