Tatiana Tropina

Senior Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law Freiburg, Germany

Tatiana Tropina is a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in the Information Law and Legal Informatics Section. Her current areas of research include international standards to fight cybercrime, the comparative analysis of cybercrime legislation, self- and co-regulation, public private partnerships to address cybersecurity issues, and the multi-stakeholder approach to fight cybercrime.
Tatiana Tropina's background includes both academic and practical experience. She has been conducting cybercrime research for more than 12 years, starting in Russia in 2002, where she became the first Russian researcher to defend a PhD thesis on cybercrime (2005). From 2002 to 2009, she was responsible for cybercrime projects at the regional subdivision of the Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre (George Mason University, USA) in Vladivostok, Russia. At the same time, from 2003 to 2008, she worked full-time as a lawyer and then as head of the legal departments of a number of telecommunication companies. In 2008, she won the British Chevening Scholarship to study telecommunications management at Strathclyde University, Glasgow. In 2009, she was awarded a German Chancellor Fellowship (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) and moved to Germany to pursue her research on legal frameworks for cybercrime.
Since 2009, Tatiana Tropina has been involved in both legal research and various applied cybercrime projects at the international level. This activity includes such projects as drafting model legislation on the interception of communication for the Caribbean states and adapting it via stakeholder consultations (ITU-EU project, 2010) and carrying out a cybercrime study for the Global Symposium of Regulators (ITU, 2010). Recently, she served as a consultant to the UNODC Comprehensive Cybercrime Study (2012-2013) and to the World Bank (World Development Report 2016). Tatiana Tropina has a number of publications to her credit, including a monograph on cybercrime. She is frequently invited to present on her research at various international events.

New instruments for cross-border cooperation in accessing e-evidence: are we hitting rock bottom?

On both sides of Atlantic, last year was marked by the development of legislative tools on transborder access to e-evidence, widely criticised by privacy advocates, national governments and academics. The US Cloud Act, enacted in 2018, and the EU E-Evidence proposal, put forward in April the same year, started processes that have been characterised as an arms race to dismantle existing safeguards to access data and content in global information networks. Both instruments try to re-design the existing regime of mutual legal assistance by providing the tools for requesting data directly from communications providers without judicial authorisation in the country where request is sent to. In fact, the new instruments turn private entities into de-facto judicial authorities: it imposes the obligation to provide data upon legal requests coming from foreign law enforcement with no verification of such demands against privacy safeguards on the national level.
The frustration felt by legislators and law enforcement is understandable. Mutual legal assistance is slow because it requires due process and safeguards. However, are the shortcuts proposed by the Cloud Act and the EU E-Evidence draft directive helpful? What are the dangers of the approach they propose, and what should be done instead to really improve fighting crime online while safeguarding the privacy of users and following due process? The presentation will provide the insights into the content of these new legislative proposals, discuss their shortcoming and propose the way forward to improve trans-border cooperation in accessing electronic evidence.


New instruments for cross-border cooperation in accessing e-evidence: are we hitting rock bottom?