A new bill in Congress has dangerous reach—it threatens the data privacy of you and people around the world, letting law enforcement sneak past the rules we have in place that help protect our lives online. Tell your representative today to reject the CLOUD Act.
When police want access to data beyond their country's borders, they often have to comply not just with their own data protection laws, but also with the data protection laws where the data is stored. That's a good thing. It ensures that when data crosses borders, people don't suffer a reduction of privacy.
But the privacy protections in this global system have aggravated law enforcement for years, and a new bill in Congress aims to appease those frustrations. The new bill would allow foreign police to demand data directly from U.S. companies and, along the way, predictably capture our emails, chat logs, online photos, and videos.
This bill is the CLOUD Act (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943) and it presents an enormous overreach.
The CLOUD Act would:
- Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people's communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant.
- Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge.
- Allow the U.S. president to enter "executive agreements" that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.
- Allow foreign police to collect someone's data without notifying them about it.
- Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it's a U.S. person's or not, no matter where it is stored.
London investigators want the private Slack messages of a Londoner they suspect of bank fraud. The London police could go directly to Slack, a U.S. company, to request and collect those messages. The London police would receive no prior judicial review for this request. The London police could avoid notifying U.S. law enforcement about this request. The London police would not need a probable cause warrant for this collection.
Predictably, in this request, the London police might also collect Slack messages written by U.S. persons communicating with the Londoner suspected of bank fraud. Those messages could be read, stored, and potentially shared, all without the U.S. person knowing about it. Those messages could be used to criminally charge the U.S. person with potentially unrelated crimes, too.
Under the CLOUD Act, this type of data collection could happen, so long as the president agrees to it.
All of this is wrong. Tell your representative today to protect privacy by rejecting the CLOUD Act.
OOPS !!! It just got passed in secretFrom 26 Mar 2018 by coingape.com of the headline:
CLOUD Act: Crypto Community In Dread Over Increased Govt. Access To Online InfoThe CLOUD Act got passed amid the trillion dollars federal spending bill, almost in secret. An extension to the international law enforcement power pertaining to online activity, the act allows the law enforcement agencies to gain access to online information from around the world which has the crypto community in fear over privacy.
CLOUD Act passes: Endangers privacy
The Clarifying Law Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act introduced by the Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch, has been passed with the support of both Democratic and Republican Senators. This act will provide the law enforcement agencies with an easier access to the electronic data of the users that comprise of messages, files, and emails. These details aren’t only indigenous but also include that is stored in the foreign servers.
Additionally, this act also provides the US lawmakers with a framework to send the information on a case-by-case basis, from the US servers to other countries. The President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, Orrin hatch detailed:
“The CLOUD Act bridges the divide that sometimes exists between law enforcement and the tech sector by giving law enforcement the tools it needs to access data throughout the world while at the same time creating a commonsense framework to encourage international cooperation to resolve conflicts of law.”Also, read: What is KYC and AML? Why it’s so Important in Cryptocurrencies?
Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple all in for CLOUD Act
The 2,232 pages document is basically a combined initiative of the big players viz. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Yahoo. A joint statement from these companies read:
“The new Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act reflects a growing consensus in favor of protecting Internet users around the world and provides a logical solution for governing cross-border access to data. Introduction of this bipartisan legislation is an important step toward enhancing and protecting individual privacy rights, reducing international conflicts of law and keeping us all safer.”However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is not in support of this act as it believes that this act evades the Fourth Amendment that requires a cause to start an investigation. While the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that it “provides an alarming level of discretion to the executive branch at the expense of congressional authority.”
Crypto community concernedWith incidents like whistleblower Edward Snowden revealing that the US government has been tracking the activities of bitcoin users, this act gives the government more power to invade and monitor the online privacy.
Andreas Anthopoulos, the bitcoin advocate showed his feelings with the tweet:
“The CLOUD Act passed. It destroys privacy globally, so it had to be snuck into the $1.3 trillion omnibus without debate. Encrypt. Encrypt. Encrypt. Go Dark. When privacy is criminalized, only criminals have privacy. We got sold out, again.”