Legislative directors for Reps. Dan Marino (R., Pa.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) today said they are working with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and Chris Coons (D., Del.) on bipartisan, bicameral legislation to address law enforcement access to cross-border data. Congressman Marino “understands the needs of law enforcement” but “also recognizes the importance of following the rule of law and respecting privacy,” Judd Smith, LD and counsel to Rep. Marino, said during remarks at a Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee meeting.
“Congress needs to act to clarify the situation,” which currently is pending before the Supreme Court in a case that arose from the Second Circuit on U.S. law enforcement access to data that Microsoft Corp. has stored in Ireland.
Chris Randle, LD and counsel to Rep. Jeffries, said, “We are working to find a solution,” adding that they would take back what they heard during the CICAC discussion panel to their bosses. “We hope soon that we will have a product that we can move that will make sense to everybody.”
One of the panelists, Richard Downing, deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice, emphasized that congressional action should address data flows in both directions: from foreign locations to U.S. law enforcement, and from U.S. locations to foreign law enforcement. The current system of mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) is “universally reviled as being too slow,” he said.
Mr. Downing noted that the idea was “spawned” during the previous presidential administration and “revived in this administration,” suggesting that it is a bipartisan concept. —Lynn Stanton, email@example.com