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FCW : June 15, 2015
28 June 15, 2015 FCW.COM Point/Counterpoint These days it’s rare when mem- bers of both parties find consensus on any issue, let alone on actual legislation before both chambers of Congress. As two appointees who have served in different presidential administrations, we don’t see eye to eye on every issue. But we do share common ground in our support of the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act. The bill is a bipartisan opportu- nity to improve international law enforcement practices while pro- tecting the privacy of individuals at the same time. First a bit of background: The rules governing law enforcement’s access to electronic communica- tions are nearly 30 years old and were established long before the advent of email and cloud computing. In light of today’s vast technolog- ical advancements, those laws are outdated and ineffective. In the discussion that follows, we outline how the LEADS Act clari- fies that U.S. warrants do not apply to non-U.S. citizens’ email mes- sages when they are stored abroad, and we explore the issues of data access, fairness for all parties and international cooperation. Who should be granted access to this data? Evans: Without updated laws and procedures, any government could request access to anyone’s email correspon- dence through the respective tech- nology provider. In today’s world, email messages are often stored in a different country from where they were drafted. Our national security is threatened if we participate in a system that allows other countries, such as Russia and China, to have access to our citizens’ email mes- sages without authorization. Anderson: Long-standing treaties and established processes govern who has access to personal correspon- dence across borders. The LEADS Act respects that tradition and improves specific procedural aspects to streamline the process. U.S. law enforcement agencies must follow well-established processes to access data stored internationally. Similarly, other countries should be expected to respect the same rules. Keeping our digital economy equitable and regulated Evans: Statutory certainty enables the efficiency of the tech economy. Only when governments and businesses abide by the same rules can participants expect clear results. It’s unfair for a government to force a technology provider to do what it can’t legally undertake (e.g., provide access to U.S. citizens’ email messages). Blur- ring those lines could mean that companies and individuals shy away from investment and innovation. Anderson: It’s unfair to put American consumers at risk if the U.S. sets a precedent of avoiding global privacy standards. Other countries are more likely to access personal correspon- dence of U.S. citizens through unau- thorized means if we do it as well. We should continue to adhere to long-established international agree- ments in order to protect the rights of our citizens. International cooperation and the importance of game theory Evans: In a time of increased transnational threats, the U.S. must work with other like-minded democra- cies to address those risks. Pursu- ing unauthorized access to email correspondence across borders could weaken those relationships with our international partners at a Striking a much-needed balance on data access BY KAREN S. EVANS AND JULIE M. ANDERSON A bipartisan pair of former agency executives explores the issues involved in the LEADS act and giving law enforcement access to data stored in other countries 0615fcw_028-029.indd 28 5/22/15 2:00 PM
May 30, 2015
June 30, 2015