The Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) co-organized a regional workshop for Latin American States in Bogotá, Colombia, on “Obtaining electronic evidence from private Communications Services Providers (CSPs) in counter-terrorism and related organized crime cross-border investigations”. The workshop was attended by representatives of Canada, Colombia, and 11 other States of Latin America, Spain, and the United States, as well as by representatives of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Facebook, WhatsApp and Trend Micro.
The three-day workshop, held from 27 to 29 May 2019, covered topics such as emerging threats and their relationship with terrorism and organized crime; recent legislative developments in relation to the gathering and use of electronic evidence in the Americas and Europe; the current practices of participating Member States in obtaining cross-border electronic evidence; an introduction to the UNODC/CTED/International Association Prosecutors (IAP) Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders; procedures, good practices and challenges for the timely preservation of data; making direct disclosure requests; emergency disclosure requests; mutual legal assistance; and open-source intelligence (OSINT) tools.
CTED facilitates the delivery of technical assistance to Latin American States through its engagement with OAS and through a financial contribution of the Government of Canada. As part of the partnership established with OAS, the Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders has been translated into Spanish and is being used in the training of relevant officials.
Mr. Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Country Representative in Colombia, noted that the workshop was the first of its kind in the region and would help strengthen the investigation and prosecution of terrorist acts and other complex offences.
Mr. Lapaque also emphasized the increasing threat posed by terrorists, drug traffickers, and organized criminal groups who exploited open borders, free markets, and technological advances. “These groups thrive and take advantage of countries with weak institutions and use cutting-edge technological channels, such as the Internet and social media, to commit their crimes.” He also welcomed the Spanish-language version of the UNODC/CTED/IAP Practical Guide for Requesting Electronic Evidence Across Borders, noting that it would be a very useful tool for States of the region.