Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/What do you do when you do


QUESTION: What do you do when you do perform a search warrant in the United States, and you discover password and user information for a server that is located in Reykjavik Iceland? You suspect that criminals in the United States are using a server located in Reykjavik Iceland. You can use this information to hack in the server and copy all the date but this might be illegal? The hosting company in Iceland says he does not hand over any data on their clients without an Icelandic court order. That means US courts and other imperious courts around the world can take a hike unless they can get a judge in Iceland to agree with them.

ANSWER: Traditionally, Iceland has never been intimidated nor swayed by the United States "rattling their sabre." This dates back several decades and was probably most pronounced when Iceland bascially told the U.S. to 'pound sand' and allowed Bobby Fisher to play the World Chess Championship in their country. Most recently, the government of Iceland unceremoniously deported FBI personnel who had entered their country (unannounced) to investigate the WikiLeak case - an act pretty much unheard of in other countries. However, handled the right way, Iceland can be persuaded to cooperate in criminal/terrorist cases, but don't care much for being "ordered" to do it.

The U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik maintains a relatively small staff. Among those is the Regional Security Officer (RSO). He is charged with being the primary law enforcement liaison in that country and he maintains a working relationship with the Icelandic law enforcement community.

Therefore, in the scenario you cited above, it would be a good guess that if the local RSO handled this request through local channels and with some 'diplomacy,' the government of Iceland would most probably cooperate.

The MPM Group, Inc.

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QUESTION: Would law enforcement in the United States try and get an Icelandic court order, yes or no? The hosting provider says that he would let law enforcement in Iceland copy the data if they get an Icelandic court order?

Would law enforcement in the United States use this information to hack in the server and copy the entire data yes or no?

There is no set answer what United States law enforcement would do in any investigation, but you can pretty much assume they will do what needs to be done depending on the type of case, the targets of the case and the overall importance of the case.

The term "hack" implies an illegal act of breaching a computer system without permission or court order. Prior to 09/11, I would have said no, but new times and new threats require new methods and more aggressive techniques.

The MPM Group, Inc.

Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty

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Kevin M. Tamez


An adjudicated expert in most, if not all, federal/state criminal investigations. Also an adjudicated and CJA approved expert in federal post-conviction advocacy, sentencing mitigation and the federal prison system.


27-years in both state and federal law enforcement.

Bachelor of Arts Degree and Graduate Studies at George Washington University. Graduate of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy as well as both the Basic and Advanced Special Agent Courses at Quantico, VA.

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