Monday 19 March 2018

The American CLOUD Act

A New Backdoor Around the USA Fourth Amendment: The Clarifying Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation have drawn attention to the US CLOUD Act which has two major components:-
  • First, it empowers U.S. law enforcement to grab data stored anywhere in the world, without following foreign data privacy rules.
  • Second, it empowers the US President to unilaterally enter executive agreements with any nation on earth, even known human rights abusers.

S. 2383 -

H.R. 4943 -

Please read the full article here:-

In a further background article entitled "The CLOUD Act: A Dangerous Expansion of Police Snooping on Cross-Border Data" EFF say:-

"The Clarifying Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act expands American and foreign law enforcement’s ability to target and access people’s data across international borders in two ways. First, the bill creates an explicit provision for U.S. law enforcement (from a local police department to federal agents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to access “the contents of a wire or electronic communication and any record or other information” about a person regardless of where they live or where that information is located on the globe. In other words, U.S. police could compel a service provider—like Google, Facebook, or Snapchat—to hand over a user’s content and metadata, even if it is stored in a foreign country, without following that foreign country’s privacy laws."

In the context of the above it is most interesting to observe that this Act conflicts with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Christine Galvagna, the German Chancellor Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin provides an illuminating article:-

"The GDPR will generally prohibit a company that processes EU citizen data from sharing personal data with third state (e.g., US) law enforcement agencies, except through a process created by a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT)." 

Ms Galvagna goes on to say:-

"A state’s jurisdiction normally ends at its territorial boundaries. Absent a legal basis, the exercise of jurisdiction beyond those boundaries undermines another state’s sovereignty. This is a cornerstone of international law."


It is disappointing that the principles of international law are being disrespected and that we face a further attack on net neutrality.

The EFF are asking people in the USA to contact their representatives to voice their opposition to this act.

For those in the EU you can search for your MEP here:-


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