China’s data hosting hinders U.S. law enforcement – prosecutor

NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) – U.S. companies are more often hosting customer data on servers in China, complicating U.S. authorities’ ability to obtain information for criminal investigations, a federal prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Carolyn Pokorny, the principal assistant United States attorney in Brooklyn, told a cybersecurity conference at Fordham University in New York that US service providers told prosecutors they could not respond to certain search warrants because the data sought is held by an entity based in China.

“By moving data to the PRC, service providers are increasingly putting evidence of crimes beyond the reach of prosecutors and agents,” Pokorny said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

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US prosecutors frequently issue court-approved search warrants to internet and telephone service providers, seeking evidence of crimes in suspects’ electronic communications.

Pokorny declined to provide details of specific cases in which prosecutors were unable to access data stored in China.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pokorny said the problem stemmed from Beijing’s efforts to get companies to store Chinese customer data in China, rather than the United States and Europe. Read more

That could lead to US residents ending up with data stored in China, she said.

Beijing may also use its control over electronic data to target dissidents living abroad, Pokorny said.

US prosecutors have charged several people with intimidating US-based China critics on behalf of the Beijing government. Read more

Speaking at the same conference, Damian Williams, Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, encouraged service providers who learn of criminal activity from the data they host to report it to law enforcement. order rather than waiting for search warrants.

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Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Richard Chang

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