Brussels, BELGIUM – European Justice Ministers today adopted a general approach on the draft EU e-Evidence Regulation. The text amends a Commission proposal that would allow national law enforcement authorities to directly request individuals’ data from most digital service providers during criminal proceedings. It also obliges service providers to supply the requested data within 10 days, or 6 hours in emergency cases, or face fines of up to 2% of their annual global turnover.

While CCIA strongly supports swifter access to digital evidence in criminal proceedings, today’s agreement does not provide sufficient procedural and substantive safeguards to prevent conflicts of law and ensure full respect for users’ fundamental rights. As several Member States have pointed out, the text does not provide for adequate checks and balances for “enforcing authorities” to review compliance of a production order with fundamental rights in cross-border cases. It also waters down procedural safeguards in cases where production orders conflict with the legislation of another Member State or a third country.

This text will be the Council’s position for future negotiations with the European Parliament, once MEPs have adopted their own negotiating position.

The following can be attributed to Alexandre Roure, CCIA Senior Public Policy Manager:

“While we support better access to digital evidence for law enforcement, we regret that today’s Council vote increases the risks of conflicts between laws for companies and poses risks to individuals’ fundamental rights. We hope the European Parliament will seek a more balanced approach in its upcoming negotiations with the Council.”

For media inquiries, please contact Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org