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United States Cloud Government Privacy Security Technology

US Spending Bill Contains CLOUD Act, a Win For Tech and Law Enforcement ( 116

The 2,232 page spending bill released Wednesday by House and Senate leaders includes the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data [CLOUD] Act, which provides a legal framework for law enforcement to request data from overseas servers. The CLOUD Act currently sits high atop the wish list of tech firms, law enforcement and even foreign nations. Axios reports: The Supreme Court is currently mulling a case determining whether the Department of Justice had the right to force Microsoft to produce client emails stored on a server in Ireland without permission from Ireland's government. Microsoft fears the DOJ will force it to violate the laws of Ireland. The DOJ hopes to avoid the often years long process of abiding by treaties dealing with evidence. But both have publicly urged lawmakers to render the pending decision moot by passing the CLOUD act, a way to streamline the treaty process for requesting digital data.

The CLOUD Act provides a framework for reciprocal treaties for nations to request data from computers located within each other's borders. It also provides a mechanism for a Microsoft to take a law enforcement demand to court if it would force them to violate another country's rules. But when neither apply, law enforcement will be able to demand files in accordance with U.S. law.

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US Spending Bill Contains CLOUD Act, a Win For Tech and Law Enforcement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:14AM (#56304023)

    This is one more reason to be extremely wary of international treaties à la CETA and TTIP.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:19AM (#56304031)

    And why again do you think your laws apply here?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      * shows military strength *

      nuff said

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What are you going to do? Invade Ireland? Nah, the US doesn't push around European nations using military strength. It would be possible, of course, but very inefficient compared to pushing them around using economic strength.

        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @07:58AM (#56304369)

          What are you going to do? Invade Ireland?

          We could threaten to ship all of Boston back across the pond. That would make Ireland shape up in a hurry.

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            We could threaten to ship all of Boston back across the pond. That would make Ireland shape up in a hurry.

            Ireland: We'll intercept the boats, put them all in chains and divert them to Uzbekistan's forced labor camps to work the cotton fields.

        • Threats and military force are the most VISIBLE use of a large military, but not at all the most common or most important to international relations. Ireland, spending 0.5% of its GDP on military, lacks even the most basic ability to defend itself. Ireland doesn't NEED to be able to defend itself because it can depend on its friend, the United States.

          For comparison, Saudi Arabia spends 10% of GDP, the US 3.5%. The US doesn't need to threaten invasion, nations like Ireland know that they are 100% reliant on

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @07:10AM (#56304199)

        Military strength means jack shit if attacking would hurt you more than it hurts your enemy. Going to war with countries like Afghanistan that don't even get noticed on the foreign trade statistics is one thing. Going to war with the likes of Europe or China, even if they were military extremely inferior, would put a dent into the US foreign trade that it would affect the bottom line of so many corporations that your politicians would never get the ok to go forward with something like this.

        • would put a dent into the US foreign trade

          Understatement of the year. You're proposing the USA go to war with its allies. You can consider this the end of political relationships the world over.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        China+Russia say: "You want a piece of me, punk? I'm not afraid of you!"

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:49AM (#56304151) Homepage Journal

      It's likely that EU privacy rules would be incompatible with these kinds of requests anyway, so no treaty would be possible. Any kind of deal would have to respect EU citizen's rights, and give them an opportunity to oppose requests.

      • It's why it's a framework and not so much a guarantee. It essentially provides a "legal out" rather then being tar-pitted in court over unanswered scenarios involving inability to access data hosted in another nation. But hey, if a treaty exist, or can exist, that's a bonus for law enforcement.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        The EU privacy rules likely have exceptions for law enforcement access to data, so they could process the data request through their local LEO, then their LEO sends the information to the US law-enforcement body requesting the data after signing some forms, And, request fulfilled.

      • by R33P ( 4452881 )

        The US is likely more concerned with accessing _US citizens'_ data stored on foreign servers. I doubt that would have anything to do with EU citizens' rights and privacy laws. It's entirely plausible that US citizens' hotmail data is stored in Ireland, and it's currently hard for the US government to subpoena. I'm not certain, but doesn't Germany have data laws that prevent its citizens' data from being stored outside the country? That's one way around it!

    • We don"t.

      But getting our elected idiots to understand this is an impossible task.

  • by ccady ( 569355 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:39AM (#56304109) Journal
    Both the EFF ( and the ACLU ( think the CLOUD act is a bad idea.
    • Well the article was clear that it’s only a win for law enforcement and tech companies. It never claimed it was good for consumers.

    • Both the EFF ( and the ACLU ( think the CLOUD act is a bad idea.

      But haven't you seen all the glowingly positive language in the summary alone? Surely this is a win for EVERYBODY and the EFF and ACLU are mistaken! </sarcasm>

    • It is a bad idea. Briefly: It creates a path to circumvent US Constitutional privacy by allowing US to get data on US citizens via data that a foreign nation would now get freely from US corporations.

      Until governments are truly trust-able entities (and not Corporate puppets), we humans need protection from this crap.
  • An opposite take (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cigaes ( 714444 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:39AM (#56304113) Homepage

    This article seems quite positive about the CLOUD act.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has quite a different take: The CLOUD Act: A Dangerous Expansion of Police Snooping on Cross-Border Data [].

    Is /. written for the benefit of law enforcement and big tech business or for nerds?

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @06:43AM (#56304131)

    How long until Congress only passes one law a year: the Must Pass Logrolled Omnibus Act of 20XX?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Echelon program allowed unfettered exchange of security data among various partnered nations. The NSA could, and did, obtain US domestic monitoring by asking other nations for it, and they obtained domestic monitoring in their own nations which they were not allowed to gather directly by their own national laws or constitutions. Given the extent of wholesale monitoring on the backbones of the Internet, by both domestic and international agencies, it effectively eliminates the privacy protections within

    • Carnivore was run by the FBI, not the NSA. See [] . The name was changed to DCS1000. I'm not sure if it's still active or has been supplanted by more modern programs.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Once discovered the names change.
      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        What do you think? The FBI wants tech companies like Apple to ship tech devices with government backdoors pre-installed to ensure they can access data.

        Failing that, they apparently have no qualms against engaging 3rd party companies that would leverage undisclosed vulnerabilities capable of compromising ordinary citizens' devices en masse to come up with custom solutions, but pretend those don't exist when lobbying the government for more powers.

        I'd bet they have 3 or more modernized/re-written vers

  • Hurrah for the Stasi!

    Hurrah for the Stasi!

    Hurrah for the Stasi!

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Yet all you have to do, to right royally fuck up the cloud act, do not take social media seriously. Have fun with in, nothing real in it, create a complete illusion of yourself a social media toon and let them data mine the fuck out of your imagination or from where ever you borrowed your creative content, taking social media seriously is an extremely bad idea. Turning it into fantasy and a joke is a lot more sensible all round.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @07:52AM (#56304341)

    Why is the CLOUD act part of a spending bill rather than a separate document? Are you unable to pass laws these days without threatening a government shutdown?

    Maybe it's time the USA stopped exporting democracy and started importing it from those countries who haven't lost their way.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice.
      They're sticking it in there because no mater how utterly vile it is they can force it through. It's 'might makes right'. And as long as we all idiotically sit there and believe that months after this passes we can maybe vote these people out of their seats and back into their cushy lobbyist/consultant jobs with those they're working for right now, we're going to keep getting raped by ever-larger species of cacti.

      If you want to stop t

    • Why is the CLOUD act part of a spending bill rather than a separate document? Are you unable to pass laws these days without threatening a government shutdown?


      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 22, 2018 @09:49AM (#56304921)

        Funny thing is, 100 years ago when the Australian constitution was being draft this was apparently already a known problem, so a few specific articles were added to deal with this case:

        54. Appropriation Bills

        The proposed law which appropriates revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government shall deal only with such appropriation.

        55. Tax Bill

        Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.

        Laws imposing taxation, except laws imposing duties of customs or of excise, shall deal with one subject of taxation only; but laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Are you unable to pass laws these days without threatening a government shutdown?

      Pretty much.... the Democrats are basically determined to not allow the republican congress to come home with a single win or single success,
      even while the republicans have the majority ---- it turns out there are some very old rules and longstanding traditions within the bodies that limits what a majority can do And gives a large enough minority the ability to delay forever or almost forever and obstruct anyt

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well considering that the republicans pulled the same shit when Obama was elected, and then proceeded to do it constantly after the passing of the ACA, I'd say the republicans are complaining because they hate the taste of their own medicine. $10.00 says the republicans will stonewall, filibuster, etc, when the democrats get majority again, and vise - versa.

        Long story short: The GP is right, our government's only function at this point is to stonewall itself and blame the other side for it, while occasional

      • You point the finger at Democrats but if anything has been clear in the past 20 years it's that both parties are equally retarded when it comes to having a functioning democracy.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The Democrats are willing to compromise and want to return to bipartisan actions. The ACA itself had built-in compromises based on what Republicans previously demanded. It was the Republicans who reflexively said No to everything Obama proposed, even when they themselves had proposed it six months earlier. And they did it again with the tax cuts, pushing a right-wing extremist plan without even a debate or amendments. The Republican tactic since the 90s is to accuse your enemies of doing what you're doing,

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Considering that the Dems actually got more total votes for the house and president, its the GOP getting its way that is the large enough minority fucking over the majority. Maybe if the GOP stopped pretending that winning seats via fewer votes was a mandate and reached across the aisle, they'd get something productive done.

      • Also see the Republicans the entire term of the last two Democrat presidents. Including this quote by the turtle Mitch McConnell “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

        • Including this quote by the turtle Mitch McConnell “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

          Leaving aside your inability to quote someone without sounding like you're a six year old ... why shouldn't he have said that? Obama promised things (and DID things) that are completely antithetical to the constitution and very nature of the republic. When someone tells you that they're going to be like that, why wouldn't you set your focus on limiting that person's ability to behave that way? Anything less than opposing a second term of someone shown to be deliberately violating the constitution's separat

          • Lol, when your top priority is obstructing the president at every chance, rather than doing the best thing for the nation, you're an asshole.

          • Because the top priority should always be what's good for the country. That should be the single most important thing Congress considers. If the President oversteps his bounds, the courts can rein him in or Congress can impeach. Throwing a tantrum and blaming it on the President is not productive.

    • You may be interested in the One Subject At A Time Act [].

      • Doesn't even need to be one subject at a time. Just copy the example of many other countries where bills of appropriation cannot feature anything other than appropriation.

  • Anything hailed by both law enforcement and big data means privacy just got the shaft
  • is like saying that cancer is a win for the medical industrial complex.

  • Is this meaningful? What force of law does a treaty framework coming from the legislative branch have? The executive branch is the one with the treaty power. The senate can either agree or disagree. Is this just advice to Trump that he can then follow at his discretion in negotiating new treaties?

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