The United States and Britain are negotiating plans that would allow UK authorities to issue warrants to American telecommunication companies demanding data from suspects in criminal and national security cases.

A US official confirmed that the US is in talks with Britain regarding a plan that would allow British officials to issue wiretap warrants to American telecommunication companies. Such documents would give officials access to data such as archived emails and interceptions of live communications.

An official said the measure is necessary to combat organized crime and terror plots orchestrated at the international level.

“These communications are happening with the speed of light, and law enforcement agencies need to keep pace with these communications,” said one official who spoke with the Washington Post on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations.

The move also would give US authorities access to similar data stored in the UK.

“Such an agreement would ensure US access to data stored in the United Kingdom in support of law enforcement, terrorism, and other transnational threat investigations and support our partners’ ability to investigate serious crime, as well as terrorism and other transnational threats on a reciprocal basis,” said the official.

The move would not give British officials access to data on American citizens.

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