The moves come in the wake of a concerted effort to sanction the Russian government and the country’s elite economic class while it continues to occupy Ukraine.
One such measure taken by the North American nations is the ignition of formal negotiations to craft a bilateral agreement with respect to provisions in the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act. According to an announcement from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the move will help “enhance the existing robust law enforcement cooperation between the two allies.”
“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,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. “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 bill, which was passed in 2018, pertains to the way electronic communication data is preserved and disclosed and establishes a framework for the U.S. to enter into agreements with other governments to govern such disclosures.
"Implementing a Canada-US CLOUD Act agreement would require changes to Canadian laws, including privacy laws. We’ll need to be on guard against this process being used to implement a new warrantless “lawful access” initiative in Canada. cc: @caparsons @mgeist"
Per the DOJ, the act creates an “efficient, privacy and civil liberties-protective approach” to provide access to electronic data between the U.S. and its “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,” reads information from the announcement.
"The Department of Home Affairs has said Australia is likely to be the next qualifying foreign government to enter into an agreement with the United States under its Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act). How does this affect your business?"
Additionally, the DOJ announced the U.S. and Canada have also reestablished the United States-Canada Cross-Border Crime Forum to further bolster cooperative efforts to thwart international bad actors.
Garland met with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti and Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino to hash out the deal’s finer points.
“During today’s constructive dialogue, the leaders discussed enhancing collaboration to counter cybercrime, including by stepping up joint efforts to counter ransomware attacks, and to accelerate our joint efforts to freeze and seize key assets belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs worldwide,” reads information from the DOJ.
Among other topics discussed include human trafficking, smuggling and gun trafficking. “As the only agency in our federal government that bears the name of a value, the Justice Department has a unique mission both here at home and around the world,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Justice exists only if it is accessible to all. I am grateful for the close and deepening cooperation between the Department’s Office for Access to Justice and Canada’s Access to Justice Secretariat to advance innovative effective strategies to expand equal access to justice for all.”