The global nature of today’s Internet services presents a unique challenge to international law enforcement cooperation. On a daily basis, law enforcement agents in one country seek access to data that is beyond their jurisdictional reach; as one industry analyst put it, there has been, “an internationalization of evidence.” In order to gain lawful access to data that is subject to another state’s jurisdiction, law enforcement agents must request mutual legal assistance (MLA) from the country that can legally compel the data’s disclosure. But the MLA regime has not been updated to manage the enormous rise of requests for MLA. This report reviews existing MLA law and policy and proposes a number of reforms.

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Global Network Initiative (January 27, 2015).