Author: Michaelene K Wright.
Technological development throughout the past fifty years has created a world in which information can be communicated across the globe in no time at all. International law enforcement tools like mutual legal assistance (MLA), on the other hand, have not changed with nearly the same pace. Unfortunately, criminal activity rarely stops at international borders, necessitating international cooperation for any sort of effective enforcement. As this Note will discuss, the problems attendant in the current mutual legal assistance scheme, such as extensive delay and incompatibility with electronic data, have led to global tension over extraterritorial action and conflict between regulatory bodies. These developments are most stark in the context of international financial crime, particularly that which is used to finance terrorist organizations. In order to keep pace with these organizations, the process needs to be streamlined and adjusted to handle large amounts of personal and financial data. Such reform to the mutual legal assistance system is an essential component of combatting money laundering and disrupting global terrorist networks.