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Addressing access to cross-border electronic evidence in the EU

25/10/2019

Third annual SIRIUS conference

The third annual SIRIUS conference took place on 23 and 24 October 2019 at Europol. This two-day joint event, co-organised by Eurojust and Europol, gathered over 300 judicial and law enforcement authorities from 40 countries, as well as representatives from Google, Microsoft, eBay, Cloudflare and Twitter, to address issues and challenges when conducting Internet-based investigations.

Judicial and law enforcement authorities must know the type of data they can request

Lawful access to electronic evidence can be very challenging, as both the types of data Online Service Providers (OSP) collect and the legal systems in which they are based vary greatly. Therefore, the types of data judicial and law enforcement authorities can request and how to request them are crucial. The third annual SIRIUS conference was the perfect opportunity to build capacity among those stakeholders both at an EU and a US level, and to share knowledge and best practice.

The conference included sessions by the FBI MLAT Unit, as well as UNCTED, which presented a new Global Initiative with the UNODC and IAP, and the Irish Department of Justice and Equality, which discussed data request processes for US companies also based in Ireland. The SIRIUS team presented key takeaways from groundbreaking research undertaken in 2019 related to the EU’s access to e-evidence. The European Judicial Network gave an overview of the e-evidence legal framework in EU Member States, and Eurojust presented a broader judicial perspective on this issue. This year, the SIRIUS conference also presented a selection of the most successful EU-funded Research and Innovation projects, with presentations of results and experiences in e-evidence extraction and analysis.

SIRIUS: an innovative platform to investigate and prosecute crime and terrorism

Europol’s EU Internet Referral Unit and the European Cybercrime Centre officially launched the SIRIUS platform during a kick-off meeting in The Hague in October 2017. SIRIUS is an innovative project that includes an interactive knowledge-sharing platform accessible to judicial and law enforcement authorities. Its objective is to produce and disseminate trainings and digests to improve EU-US cooperation in cross-border access to electronic evidence. The project is of operational added value in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism.

Mr Klaus Meyer-Cabri, Vice-President of Eurojust, said: ‘The Internet has led to many positive developments. It has, however, the side effects of cybercrime and online abuse. In view of this situation, electronic evidence is the key to investigations. If we want investigations to work well, cooperation between judicial authorities and with law enforcement and private actors is of prime importance, as is the introduction of a good system of digital justice.’

Mr Manuel Navarrete, Head of the European Counter Terrorism Centre, said: ‘SIRIUS is a flagship project, and, through an unprecedented collaboration with Eurojust, Europol is rapidly evolving and adapting to the world of big data. With SIRIUS, our aim is to support EU Member States in lawfully accessing electronic evidence.’

The SIRIUS project is funded by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) under grant agreement No PI/2017/391-896.