Understanding the French Criminal Justice System as a Tool for Reforming International Legal Cooperation and Cross-Border Data Requests
Bräutigam, Tobias ja Miettinen, Samuli (toim.): Data Protection, Privacy and European Regulation in the Digital Age, 2016
26 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2017 Last revised: 7 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 21, 2017
In an increasingly interconnected world, where communications can happen anywhere and at any time, law enforcement agencies may need access to evidence stored overseas. To help national law enforcement agencies work together more effectively, a large number of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (“MLATs”) have been signed from 1970 onwards. MLATs have become an area of international dispute, with states becoming increasingly frustrated with the length and complication of the process for requesting electronic evidence. Indeed, access to evidence is a time-sensitive issue for not only the solving and prevention of crimes but also as part of the individual’s right to a fair trial.
As part of a larger project on reforming international legal cooperation, a large number of works and projects have emerged, including the Georgia Tech Cross-Border Data Requests Project of which this paper is a part. This paper begins with a description of the current French criminal process, as an example of a mature EU legal system. Then, it explains the steps required for French investigating authorities to access evidence located in the U.S. under the current MLAT rules. Finally, it illustrates that each legal system maintains different checks and balances that have to be carefully considered in reforming any multilateral legal cooperation.
Keywords: MLAT Privacy Data Protection
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