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Landmark Data Access Agreement signed with US

Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed an agreement that will enable British law enforcement agencies to directly demand electronic data relating to terrorists from US tech firms.

The world-first UK-US Bilateral Data Access Agreement was signed with US Attorney General William P. Barr in Washington DC, where the Home Secretary also met security partners to discuss the two countries’ ever deeper cooperation and global leadership on security.

The agreement will speed up investigations and prosecutions by enabling law enforcement, with appropriate authorisation, to go directly to the tech companies to access data, rather than through governments, which can currently take anywhere from six months to two years. Once in place, the agreement will see the process reduced to a matter of weeks or even days.

The US will have reciprocal access, under a US court order, to data from UK communication service providers.

Patel said: “Terrorists and paedophiles continue to exploit the internet to spread their messages of hate, plan attacks on our citizens and target the most vulnerable. As Home Secretary I am determined to do everything in my power to stop them. This historic Agreement will dramatically speed up investigations, allowing our law enforcement agencies to protect the public. This is just one example of the enduring security partnership we have with the US and I look forward to continuing to work with them and global partners to tackle these heinous crimes.”



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