Access and Feeds

Cloud Computing: New Privacy Rules for Government Access to Data in Foreign Data Centers

By Dick Weisinger

The CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) was enacted early in 2018 in an attempt to modernize data privacy and government surveillance laws in a world where data is increasingly being housed in global cloud-computing data centers. It amends the Stored Communications Act (SCA) from 1986, a law written well before the widespread use of email.  The law requires that US-based service providers need to provide data to government authorities when requested by warrant or subpoena regardless of whether the data is stored on servers inside or outside the US.

The new law has met with notable resistance.  For example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation called it a “dangerous expansion of police snooping,” and the Center for Democracy and Technology, which said the CLOUD Act “would erode trust in [the] privacy of cloud storage.”

Senator Rand Paul said that “Congress should reject the CLOUD Act because it fails to protect human rights or Americans’ privacy…gives up their constitutional role, and gives far too much power to the attorney general, the secretary of state, the president and foreign governments.”

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