Prime minister David Cameron has appointed Sir Nigel Sheinwald as a special envoy on "intelligence and law enforcement data sharing".
The role was announced by Cameron this July, 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).
Cameron said at the time, "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 the lawful and justified transfer of information across borders takes place to protect our people’s safety and security."
The government said Sheinwald'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 share data between law enforcement and intelligence agencies under different jurisdictions.
He 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, said the government.
Sheinwald will be based in the Cabinet Office and report to the prime minister and deputy prime minister.
Sheinwald was previously a senior member of the diplomatic service, finishing as ambassador to the US from 2007 to 2012. After leaving the diplomatic service in 2012, he joined the board of Royal Dutch Shell as a non-executive director, and took on other international business appointments. He was also appointed as a visiting professor at King’s College, London where he also serves on the governing council.