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Congress Passes CLOUD Act Hidden in Budget Spending Bill
03-23-2018, 04:30 PM
Post: #1
Congress Passes CLOUD Act Hidden in Budget Spending Bill
Congress Passes CLOUD Act Hidden in Budget Spending Bill

This allows internal and foreign law enforcement access to user data stored online without a search warrant or probable cause.

The legislation is the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), a bill proposed in mid-February, this year (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943).

US officials never discussed the bill, but merely appended it to the Omnibus budget spending bill (page 2201) they introduced in Congress on Wednesday night.

The budget bill was deemed a priority and officials were almost forced to approve it in its current form to avoid a complete US government shutdown starting next week.

The budget bill passed a day later, Thursday, with a 256-167 vote in the House of Representatives, and a 65-32 vote on the Senate floor, including with the embedded CLOUD Act that got zero discussion, feedback, or modifications from regulators.

The unaltered and now official CLOUD Act effectively gets rid of the need for search warrants and probable cause for grabbing a US citizen's data stored online.

US police only need to point the finger at some account, and tech companies must abide and provide all the needed details, regardless if the data is stored in the US or overseas.

Further, the bill recognizes foreign law enforcement and allows the US President to sign data-sharing agreements with other countries without congressional oversight. The CLOUD Act will then allow foreign law enforcement to require data on their own citizens stored in the US, also without obtaining a warrant or proving probable cause.

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