ICC policy statement on Using Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) To Improve Cross-Border Lawful Intercept Procedures
This policy statement continues ICC’s work on LI, offering recommendations for improvements to mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) processes, in order to improve the effectiveness of cross-border LI procedures and reduce unnecessary and disproportionate burdens.
The ICC Commission on the Digital Economy has recognized as a top priority the need for governments and the private sector to establish a responsible balance of interests for lawful intercept (LI) on both national and cross-border bases. ICC has also emphasized that, in addition to providing for LI with appropriate authorization to enforce national laws, governments must ensure that the use of LI is consistent with other important legal obligations and goals of consumers and businesses, such as information security, human rights, and privacy, transparency and proportionality.
The Commission on the Digital Economy acknowledges the significant past efforts of governments and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to negotiate and use MLATs, and believes that substantial further opportunities remain for expanding and improving MLATs, as well as cross-border law enforcement cooperation more generally. This policy statement provides recommendations and a proposed model approach for doing so.
- Communications trends like mobility and cloud computing present increasing challenges for cross-border lawful intercept.
- MLATs are a key tool for addressing these challenges.
- ICC offers ten recommendations for MLAT improvement, covering:
(1) geographic and substantive scope of MLATs, (2) efficient MLAT processes, and (3) education and transparency.