UK special envoy tasked with improving data sharing

The British government has employed Sir Nigel Sheinwald (former senior diplomat and ambassador to the US) as special envoy on intelligence and law enforcement data sharing in the UK. The move was announced in July as part of the government's plans to introduce emergency legislation to preserve data retention and investigation powers (DRIP).

British Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time: “A number of overseas companies have asserted that their ability to work with the UK government is being severely constrained by international conflicts of jurisdiction. For example, where they think they have a British law saying that they should share data, and an American law saying that they shouldn't. 

"So we intend to appoint a senior diplomat to work with America and other countries to address these concerns and ensure that lawful and justified transfer of information across borders takes place to protect our people's safety and security.”

Cameron's comments highlighted his frustration with US communications providers, which led to Sheinwald's new position as Special Envoy. His new role will be to lead the government and predominantly US-based Communications Service Providers (CPSs) in discussions about improving data access and jurisdiction issues. This is to find ways to build the UK government's relationship with CPSs, and to explore how this could improve data access and sharing.