The European Union wants to make it easier for law enforcement agencies and the police within each of its member states, to retrieve data held in the cloud from US technology companies.
The European Commission is reacting to a flurry of terrorist attacks across Europe, in the hope that new legislation could help to speed up the transfer of data - which could be critical as evidence and for further investigations - from companies like Facebook and Google.
Currently, there are restrictions on retrieving data which can slow down the process as data is held in different countries and has to abide by the rules in that jurisdiction.
The EC wants to make it possible for a police force to go directly to the technology company to get the data - rather than having to ask permission from that country's police force or to go via the courts for warrants.
Justice Commissioner Vera Jourava said the proposals from the EC would be used to draw up legislation.
"I am sure that now in the shadow of the recent terrorist attacks and increasing threats in Europe there will be more understanding among the ministers, even among those who come from countries where there has not been a terrorist attack," she told Reuters.
EU justice ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the proposals. This will then form the basis of a motion put forward by the EU executive by early 2018.
The EC is to propose three options. The first would enable a law enforcement agency in one member state to ask an IT provider - or data controller - in another member state to turn over electronic evidence without having to ask that country first.
The second option would mean companies are forced to turn over data on request by law enforcement agencies in other member countries. The final, and by far the most exhaustive option, is to allow law enforcement agencies direct access to information in the cloud. This would only be used in situations where the agencies do not know the location of the server hosting the data, or there is a risk of data being lost.
Jourova called the third option "an emergency possibility", which would require additional safeguards to protect the privacy of people.
"My preference is to go for this as an extraordinary measure for extraordinary threats, for high gravity criminal offences such as terrorism and there I am in favour of enabling the use of personal data," Jourova said, emphasising that no decision has been made as yet.
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