Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 22, 2022

United States and Canada Welcome Negotiations of a CLOUD Act Agreement

The United States and Canada have entered into formal negotiations for a bilateral agreement under the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, to enhance the existing robust law enforcement cooperation between the two allies.

Attorney General Merrick Garland welcomed the opening of negotiations.

“The United States looks forward to working with the Government of Canada on negotiating this agreement,” said Attorney General Garland. “Such an agreement, if finalized and approved, would pave the way for more efficient cross-border disclosures of data between the United States and Canada so that our governments can more effectively fight serious crime, including terrorism, while safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties values that we both share. By increasing the effectiveness of investigations and prosecutions of serious crime, including terrorism, in both countries, we seek to enhance the safety and security of citizens on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.”

The United States enacted the CLOUD Act in 2018 to streamline access to electronic information held by providers that is critical to investigations of serious crime, including terrorism, while maintaining strong protections for the rule of law, privacy, and civil liberties. The act creates a new paradigm: an efficient, privacy and civil liberties-protective approach to ensure effective access to electronic information through executive agreements between the United States and trusted foreign partners. Pursuant to such agreements, legal barriers prohibiting service providers subject to U.S. laws from responding to lawful orders to disclose electronic evidence that are issued by the other party will be lifted, and reciprocal access will be permitted under the laws of the trusted foreign partner.

While such electronic information can currently be sought through the mutual legal assistance (MLA) process, the CLOUD Act provides an alternative expedited framework for obtaining it while protecting privacy and civil liberties. The number of MLA requests for electronic information held by service providers in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years, straining resources and slowing response times under the current MLA process. The CLOUD Act addresses delays in that process by providing an additional path for trusted partner countries to obtain electronic information.

For more information on the CLOUD Act, visit: https://www.justice.gov/dag/cloudact and https://www.justice.gov/dag/page/file/1153466/download.

Topic(s): 
Counterterrorism
Press Release Number: 
22-275
Updated March 22, 2022