Often a prosecution or police authority (a “law enforcement authority”) of a Party to the Budapest Convention requests a service provider in another jurisdiction for data in relation to a specific criminal investigation. Typically, subscriber information is sought from multinational service providers with their headquarters in the USA (“US service providers”). Some of them have subsidiaries in Europe or elsewhere.
Transparency reports published by US service providers indicate that they respond positively to about 60% of such requests “on a voluntary basis”.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a snapshot of policies and practices of some major US service providers regarding their “voluntary” disclosure of information to law enforcement authorities in foreign jurisdictions, and thus to facilitate discussion of future options regarding criminal justice access to electronic evidence in the cloud.