US and Australia enter CLOUD Act agreement for cross-border access to electronic evidence

Australia and the United States have entered into a landmark CLOUD Act agreement to bolster efforts in preventing serious organised crime, terrorism, ransomware attacks, critical infrastructure sabotage, and child sexual abuse.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, known as the CLOUD Act, is a US legal instrument that allows for law enforcement to access data across borders.

“Signing the CLOUD Act Agreement will enable our two nations’ law enforcement agencies to share important digital information and data with each other, under carefully defined legal authorities and safeguards,” said Karen Andrews, Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs.

Through the bilateral agreement, Australia’s law enforcement agencies gain the ability to issue orders compelling US service providers to provide communications data for the purposes of combatting serious crime directly on US-based companies, and vice versa.

Previously, Australian law enforcement agencies could only rely on mechanisms such as mutual legal assistance agreements to access crucial evidence from other countries, which have been flagged as complex and time-consuming by Home Affairs.

It’s the second CLOUD Act agreement to come into force, after a similar one was finalised between the UK and US in 2019.

“This agreement paves the way for more efficient cross-border

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