The president also announced that we will devote resources to centralize and improve the process we use to handle foreign requests for legal assistance, called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process. Under MLAT, foreign partners can request access to information stored in the United States pursuant to U.S. law. As the concentration of U.S.-based cloud storage providers has increased, so has the number of MLAT requests. To address this increase, we will speed up and centralize MLAT processing, we will implement new technology to increase the efficiency and transparency of the process, and we will increase our international outreach and training to help ensure that requests meet U.S. legal standards. We will put the necessary resources in place to reduce our response time by half by the end of 2015, and we will work aggressively to respond to legally sufficient requests in a matter of weeks. This change will ensure that our foreign partners can more effectively use information held in the U.S. to prosecute terrorists and other criminals, while still meeting the strict privacy protections put in place by U.S. law.
In addition to the initiatives that were announced by the president, the administration's review affirmed our commitment to ongoing initiatives:
Consumer privacy codes of conduct
Two years ago, the president released a Blueprint for Consumer Privacy in the Digital Age as a "dynamic model of how to offer strong privacy protection and enable ongoing innovation in new information technologies." Following the release of the blueprint, the administration has convened the private sector, privacy experts, and consumer advocates to develop voluntary codes of conduct to safeguard sensitive consumer data. Last summer a multistakeholder group completed the first such code on how mobile apps should access private information. The Department of Commerce is continuing this multistakeholder process, aiming to launch the development of new codes of conduct in 2014.
Commitment to an open Internet
Maintaining an open, accessible Internet, including the ability to transmit data across borders freely is essential for global growth and development. We will redouble our commitment to promote the free flow of information around the world through an inclusive approach to Internet governance and policymaking. Individuals in the 21st century depend on free and unfettered access to data flows without arbitrary government regulation. Businesses depend increasingly on agreed data-sharing regimes that allow information to move seamlessly across borders in support of global business operations. Developing countries and small businesses around the world in particular have a lot at stake, and much to lose from limitations restricting the Internet as an engine of prosperity and expression. Requirements to store data or locate hardware in a given location hurt competition, stifle innovation, and diminish economic growth. And they undermine the DNA of the Internet, which by design is a globally distributed network of networks. We will continue to support the multistakeholder, inclusive approach to the Internet and work to strengthen and make more inclusive its policy-making, standards-setting, and governance organizations.
Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28Subject: Signals Intelligence Activities
The United States, like other nations, has gathered intelligence throughout its history to ensure that national security and foreign policy decisionmakers have access to timely, accurate, and insightful information.