CLOUD Act signed into law

23 Mar 2018

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act was signed into law on 22 March by President Donald Trump. The new legislation amends the 1986 Stored Communications Act to allow federal law enforcement to compel U.S.-based technology companies via warrant or subpoena to provide requested data stored on servers regardless of where in the world the data is stored. The CLOUD Act allows for requesting any data on U.S. citizens stored on any server they own or operate when an warrant exists and it introduces expedited procedures for ‘executive agreements’ with foreign governments. While many companies expressed their support for the law in a joint letter on 6 February, civil society groups and human rights organizations warned on 12 March that the CLOUD Act ‘undermines privacy and important democratic safeguards’.

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Cloud computing could be described as the shift from storing data on hard disks on our computers to servers in the clouds (i.e., huge server farms). Cloud computing offers ubiquitous access to all our data and services from any device anywhere around the world (where there is Internet connection).

Jurisdiction is the authority of the court and state organs to decide on legal cases. The relationship between jurisdiction and the Internet has been ambiguous, since jurisdiction rests predominantly on the geographical division of the globe into national territories. Each state has the sovereign right to exercise jurisdiction over its territory.

 

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