Skip to Content
Policy

The EU may order tech firms to hand over terror suspects’ data inside 6 hours

A draft policy at the European Commission would provide judges with the ability to demand data from technology companies on incredibly tight deadlines.

The news: The Guardian reports that the new rules would allow courts to demand the data of terror suspects, such as e-mail or text messages, no matter where in the world the data was stored. Firms would also be banned from deleting some specific kinds of data.

More details: The default deadline for handing over data would be 10 days, but that could be shortened to six hours in some cases. Curent deadlines are 120 days or more. Companies would be able to challenge requests for data if they believed that its provision would, say, break laws.

What they’re saying: “Criminals use fast and cutting-edge technology to operate,” said EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova in a statement. “We need to equip law enforcement authorities with 21st-century methods to tackle crime, just as criminals use 21st-century methods to commit crime.”

The case against: “If companies are coerced into handing over citizens’ data, our existing rights are put at risk,” said Maryant Fernández Pérez, a senior policy advisor at the lobby group European Digital Rights, to the Financial Times. “States have legal obligations to respect and defend people’s fundamental rights. Companies do not have such legal obligations.”

Move fast, break things? Tech firms are often enthusiastic about working quickly. But a six-hour turnaround is likely to raise concerns about whether it provides enough time to perform due diligence on data being handed over.

Next up: The policy will go to a vote inside the European Parliament and member-state governments.

Deep Dive

Policy

What’s next for AI regulation in 2024? 

The coming year is going to see the first sweeping AI laws enter into force, with global efforts to hold tech companies accountable. 

Three technology trends shaping 2024’s elections

The biggest story of this year will be elections in the US and all around the globe

Four lessons from 2023 that tell us where AI regulation is going

What we should expect in the coming 12 months in AI policy

The FTC’s unprecedented move against data brokers, explained

It could signal more aggressive action from policy makers to curb the corrosive effects that data brokers have on personal privacy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.