U.S. proposals could allow foreign warrants to US firms

The White House is discussing proposals with U.S. allies that could allow foreign governments to serve search warrants requesting email and wiretap information to US companies.
The White House is discussing proposals with U.S. allies that could allow foreign governments to serve search warrants requesting email and wiretap information to US companies.

The White House is discussing proposals with U.S. allies that could allow foreign governments to serve search warrants requesting email and wiretap information to US companies. The agreements would similarly extend authority to the U.S. to obtain data in other countries.

During a public forum at a congressional office on Friday, Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general Brad Wiegmann said the reciprocal agreements would allow governments to issue warrants directly to U.S.-based companies. “These agreements will not be for everyone,” said Wiegmann, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “There will be countries that don't meet the standards.”

The announcement of the proposed agreements, which would require legislative approval from both nations, follows the ruling last week by a federal appeals court that a federal warrant cannot be used by the U.S. to force Microsoft Corp. to turn over customer email information stored in a server in Ireland.

The U.K. may be the first nation to sign an agreement with the U.S., according to the report. While the White House and U.S. legislators continue to wrestle with privacy issues and requests from law enforcement seeking digital information, the U.K. has faced its own privacy and surveillance debate, which came to a fore with the proposal of The Draft Communications Data Bill, better known as the Snoopers' Charter.
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