Sir Nigel Sheinwald, a former senior Diplomat and Ambassador to the US 2007 to 2012, has been appointed by the Prime Minister as Special Envoy on intelligence and law enforcement data sharing.
This role was announced by the Prime Minister when he set out the government’s plans to introduce emergency legislation to preserve data retention and investigation powers (the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act) in July 2014. At the time the Prime Minister said:
A number of overseas companies have asserted that their ability to work with the UK government is being severely constrained by international conflicts of jurisdiction. For example, where they think they have a British law saying that they should share data, and an American law saying that they shouldn’t. So we intend to appoint a senior diplomat to work with America and other countries to address these concerns and ensure that lawful and justified transfer of information across borders takes place to protect our people’s safety and security.
Sir Nigel’s overarching objective is to lead discussions with governments, other key international partners and Communications Service Providers (CPSs) on ways to improve access to and sharing of law enforcement and intelligence data in different jurisdictions. Sir Nigel will seek to identify ways to take forward the British government’s relationship with CSPs and explore how new formal arrangements could improve data access and sharing in both the short and longer term.
Sir Nigel will be based in the Cabinet Office and report to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, through the Cabinet Secretary.
Terms of reference
Sir Nigel Sheinwald: Special Envoy
The Prime Minister has appointed Sir Nigel Sheinwald, a former senior member of HM Diplomatic Service and Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2012, as Special Envoy on intelligence and law enforcement data sharing. This role was prefigured during the passage of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act in July 2014.
Sir Nigel will lead discussions with the US government, other key international partners and the Communications Service Providers (CSPs) on ways to improve the accessing of this data in different jurisdictions. He will seek to:
- identify ways to take forward the British government’s relationships with the CSPs and ensure that the British government’s work in this area is coherent with its broader relationships with the CSPs, and vice versa
- explore how new formal US/UK arrangements could improve data access for the UK agencies
- work with the US government and CSPs on a range of options for strengthening arrangements and ensuring reliable access, eg through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty systems, other legal or political frameworks or remedies, better arrangements for direct requests from the UK agencies to the companies which hold the data, or other means
- consider wider international arrangements in this area
- ensure that any new arrangements observe the requirement that data is requested and provided only where necessary and proportionate for the purposes of national security and the prevention or detection of serious crime
Sir Nigel Sheinwald is a former senior British diplomat. He was UK Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels (2000 to 2003), Foreign Policy and Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister and Head of the Cabinet Office Overseas and Defence Secretariat (2003 to 2007), and British Ambassador to the United States (2007 to 2012). Since leaving the Diplomatic Service in 2012, he has joined the board of Royal Dutch Shell as a Non-Executive Director, taken on other international business appointments, and been appointed Visiting Professor at King’s College, London where he also serves on the Governing Council. He supports a number of British organisations active in the fields of European and transatlantic affairs.