Update (October 3, 2019 3:17 pm): Given new information that this agreement is under CLOUD Act, the updated article can be found here. In what could be a major blow to Facebook and WhatsApp’s case in the Madras High Court and set a dangerous precedent against user privacy around the world, a new bilateral agreement between the UK and the US could force social media platforms to disclose encrypted messages from suspected terrorists, paedophiles and other serious criminals, The Times reported on September 28. This agreement will reportedly be signed by the British Home Secretary Priti Patel next month. A British Home Office spokesperson told MediaNama that the agreement is called Data Access Agreement. What will this process look like? Once the agreement is signed, police, prosecutors and security services will be able to submit requests for information to a judge, magistrate, or “other independent authority”, as per The Times report. This process will be overseen by the investigatory powers commissioner. Under the terms of the agreement, the UK will not target people in the US and vice versa. Also, any information that US gets from a British company cannot be used as evidence in cases that attract death penalty, without the UK’s permission. It is not clear if this means that even if the suspect is American, the British government will not target them. The Home Office did not answer our question about the same. Statement from a Home Office spokesperson: “The UK and US are committed to signing…
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