Expert Group Meeting:
Lawful Access to Digital Data Across Borders

Vienna, Austria
12-13 February 2018

What challenges arise when a police investigator requests preservation of electronic data in a foreign jurisdiction, under the control of a private corporation? How can authorities handle the data to guarantee its integrity and authenticity? Can other legal barriers stop a prosecutor from introducing this data as evidence?

These problems require a thorough understanding of criminal, privacy and human rights law; data protection policies; and mutual legal assistance channels. Aiming to build the capacity of investigators and prosecutors worldwide, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is hosting a two-day expert group meeting (EGM) in Vienna entitled "Lawful Access to Digital Data Across Borders". 

Participants include experts in digital investigations, transnational crime and criminal justice, as well as legal officers from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Mr. John Brandolino, Director of UNODC's Division for Treaty Affairs, welcomed the participants today during the opening session, noting the "rare opportunity for investigators, prosecutors and technology industry leaders from around the globe to sit together and identify the most effective practices to solve the complex problems of electronic data."  

The participants will develop a Practical Guide on Requesting and Gathering Electronic Evidence . Almost all transnational cases involving terrorist activities or organized crime require guidance concerning lawfully targeted online surveillance, securing of electronic evidence, and requests to remove information from online sources. The guide will expand existing UNODC resources and publications to include practical and country-specific guidance addressing these common issues. 

The EGM was organized under the UNODC, CTED and IAP Global Project on Strengthening the Capacity of Central Authorities and Counter-Terrorism Prosecutors and Investigators in Obtaining Digital Evidence from Private Communications Service Providers in Cross-Border Investigations. The project is funded by the Government of the United States of America.