WASHINGTON – Following a joint multi-association letter to congressional leaders, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice for the technology sector's leading companies, renewed its call for Congress to increase funding for the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process, which is used by nations to request data for criminal investigations. As the backlog in requests go unanswered, foreign governments are attempting to circumvent the MLAT process and seek data directly from U.S. technology companies, placing companies in a difficult posture, as the law requires these requests to go through the MLAT process.
Resource restraints for MLAT request processing through the U.S. Department of Justice have become a growing concern for the tech sector. The budgetary challenges have been compounded as the number of requests has increased by 60 percent over the past decade, leading to a substantial backlog of some 11,000 MLAT requests that are waiting to be processed. Last November ITI joined with a similar coalition of tech sector trade groups and pressed Congress to fully fund the MLAT process as lawmakers worked through a lame duck session to finish appropriations for the year.
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