The Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill had its third reading in the House of Commons this week. The Bill seeks to create a framework which would allow law enforcement agencies to obtain access to electronic data held in foreign jurisdictions for the purposes of investigating serious crimes. Prosecutors and enforcement agencies would be able to do this by applying in a UK court for an ‘overseas production order.’ Such an order can only be made where there is an international agreement to share data with a foreign government. The Crime Orders Bill would enshrine the agreement between the UK and the US, allowing UK courts to grant law enforcement agencies to procure data from companies held in the US.
Such orders would be granted by courts if they provide value to criminal investigations and it is in the public interest to do so. The government believes the bill is required because online platforms have been increasingly used by criminals to facilitate their activities, such as terrorism.
Local MP Huw Merriman put forward an amendment to the bill to make provisions for journalistic material, this means journalists would be informed if an overseas production order has been requested and would be able to make representations against it should they want to do so. The amendment received Government backing and was passed along with the bill.
You can watch the debate on the bill here: https://goo.gl/dQNFb6