Hatch, Marino introduce bicameral legislation to establish clear process, policies for access to internationally-stored data

Bicameral legislation recently introduced by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) would address international data storage and government requests for access.

The International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA), H.R. 5323/S. 2986, would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to access stored electronic communications and create a legal framework for access to electronic communications of U.S. citizens, regardless of where communications are stored.

“It is past time for Congress to modernize the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” Hatch said. “As we do so, lawmakers must not ignore the pressing issue of international data privacy and the need for Congress to establish a legal framework for accessing extraterritorial communications. The global reach of government warrant authority has significant implications for multinational businesses and their customers. The International Communications Privacy Act aids law enforcement while safeguarding consumer privacy, striking a much-needed balance in today’s data-driven economy.”

Under the bill, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process would be reformed to establish more accessibility, transparency and accountability. The attorney general would be required to create an online docketing system for MLAT requests to publish statistics on the number of requests.

Marino and U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) said in a joint statement that they were pleased that previous, similar legislation that they introduced, the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act, H.R. 1174, had garnered widespread support with more than 130 cosponsors.

“ICPA improves upon this effort by broadening industry recognition, and we believe it will earn an even greater backing from our colleagues in Congress,” Marino and DelBene said. “This bill guarantees that users of technology have confidence that their privacy rights will be protected by due process while simultaneously ensuring law enforcement agencies have necessary access to information through a clear, legal framework to keep us safe.”

ICPA would establish that data localization requirements are not compatible with the borderless nature of the Internet, hinder online innovation and aren’t needed by law enforcers.

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