Both user privacy and assisting legal system in gathering needed evidence are important but given the current laws, one has to be given preference over other. In light of the quickly expanding cloud computing tech, Google has proposed a new framework to tackle these issues.
In the recent past, privacy advocates have been unhappy regarding the invasion of privacy when it comes to legal cases.
Currently, the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) takes care of requests from law enforcement agencies — both indigenous and overseas.
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“Under ECPA, Foreign countries largely have to rely on diplomatic mechanisms such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) to obtain content that is held by a company in the United States,” said Kent Walker, SVP and General Counsel, Google.
This process takes up to 10 months on an average, which means that a lot of trials either extend for an enormously long period of time or are
While digital communication has evolved from erstwhile Telegram service to postal to telephone and now the internet but the laws governing the modern methods of communications are outdated and lack concern for user’s privacy too.
The outdated laws not only hinder the workflow of law enforcement agencies as procuring information isn’t as easy but they also affect user’s privacy in the former process.
“Today, we’re proposing a new framework that allows countries that commit to baseline privacy, human rights, and due process principles to gather evidence more quickly and efficiently,” Walked added.
Google Proposes Reforms to Current Laws
These reforms are aimed towards improving the privacy standards for users globally as well as diminishing the time it takes to procure information during an investigation.
Google is advocating towards enacting the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA) with certain reforms and edits that will better suit today’s scenario.
Once the countries have committed to baseline privacy and human rights — for privacy protection — Google advises a reform in the MLAT process that will result in a quicker information exchange without creating privacy issues.
Develop a Standard Electronic Form and Online Docketing System for MLAT requests.
Streamline review of MLAT requests.
Engage foreign partners and improve training.
Increase transparency and resources.
“Countries that commit to baseline privacy, due process, and human rights principles should be able to make direct requests to providers in other democratic countries. For other countries, existing mutual assistance frameworks should be reformed to improve response times,” Google’s new framework suggests.
User privacy in the era of the Internet is one of the biggest concerns and since the internet makes up for most of the communication these days, law enforcement agencies will need to dig up evidence from it too.
Finding a middle ground where both of these things can co-exist without hindering each other is the need of the hour and Google has put forward one of the first steps towards it.