Spending Bill Lets Cops, Foreigners Seize Social Media Data Without Warrants


Congress snuck The Cloud Act into the massive Omnibus spending bill. The bill allows police at home and abroad to seize cross-border data without following the privacy rules where the data is stored. 

It’s on page 2,201, near the end.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that it is an insidious method for accessing our emails, our chat logs, our online videos and photos, and our private moments shared online. This backdoor would deny us meaningful judicial review and the privacy protections embedded in our Constitution.

The CLOUD Act would hand police departments in the U.S. and other countries new powers to directly collect data from tech companies. They would no longer be required to first get a warrant. It would even let foreign governments wiretap inside the U.S. without having to comply with U.S. Wiretap Act restrictions.

This is a new backdoor. U.S. police could obtain Americans’ data, and use it against them, without complying with the Fourth Amendment.

Major tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Oath are supporting the bill because it makes their lives easier by relinquishing their responsibility to protect their users’ data from cops.

They’ve been throwing their lobby power behind getting the CLOUD Act attached to the omnibus government spending bill.

More on the case can be found at EFF here and here, and the ACLU here and here.

What else is in this 2,232-page bill?

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5 years ago

A perfect reason for this bill to be flushed down the closest loo.