New I&J Outcome on Voluntary Disclosure of Subscriber Information

Published on
March 16, 2021

To help improve the interactions of actors, particularly small ones, in the issuance and handling of  cross-border requests for voluntary disclosure of subscriber information, senior-level global key actors from governments, internet companies, technical operators, civil society, leading universities, and international organizations, have worked together in the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network Data & Jurisdiction Program Contact Group, to prepare a new resource: 

Subscriber information collected by service providers is often useful at various stages of criminal investigations, in particular, to identify suspects or victims. Some countries allow service providers incorporated on their territory to voluntarily disclose such information upon requests addressed directly to them by foreign investigating authorities. These types of voluntary disclosure do not replace disclosure under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties but may reduce the burden on such instruments by providing a faster avenue for obtaining this specific type of user information.

However, questions exist around the applicable national laws and inefficient procedures can make cross-border requests challenging. Requesting states may lack the knowledge necessary to effectively communicate with service providers, leading to delays and incomplete or unactionable requests. 

The I&JPN Outcome offers a list of key factors to be considered in the process of making requests for such disclosure by states, and for service providers to evaluate such requests. The document provides an overview of the key information needed by service providers to initiate requests and also offers a compilation of subscriber information definitions. 

This resource builds on the outcome of the work of Members of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network’s Data & Jurisdiction Program Contact Group. In 2019, the Members developed a set of Operational Approaches that provide stakeholders with common Norms, Criteria, and Mechanisms regarding cross-border access to electronic evidence, which was discussed at the 3rd Global Conference of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, which resulted in the Berlin Roadmap. 

The Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network is the multistakeholder organization addressing the tension between the cross-border internet and national jurisdictions. It engages over 400 entities from governments, the world’s largest internet companies, technical operators, civil society groups, academia, and international organizations from over 70 countries.