U.S. and Australian governments sign agreement to provide access to electronic records of suspects in criminal cases

This week the Australian and U.S. governments signed an agreement to make it easier for their justice departments to access phone numbers and email addresses related to judicial investigations. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews believe the deal will allow both countries quick access to electronic information vital to serious crime investigations.

Under U.S. law, the agreement will allow telecommunications companies in the other country to be asked to access the electronic communications of some suspects, thus avoiding problematic court proceedings, working in reverse for Australian authorities.

In this regard, Garland mentions that the agreement “will make cooperation between the U.S. and Australia more effective, especially in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crimes, which will make citizens feel more secure.”

On the other hand, Andrews believes that the agreement will have a considerable impact on the fight against specific crimes, such as child sexual abuse and organized crime: “Until now, Australian agencies had relied on complex mechanisms that take too long, so the agreement will be beneficial for everyone.”

Both officials insisted that their respective governments will adhere to privacy and civil liberties norms, amid concerns that such laws could be opening the door to unwarranted searches for private information from people in general, not just suspects in criminal cases.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.