Media reports indicate that US lawmakers are considering including the controversial CLOUD Act in a must-pass omnibus spending bill that Congress will vote on this week. Thousands of people have already taken action calling on their lawmakers to oppose this move.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future strongly opposes the CLOUD Act and its inclusion in the budget bill, and issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
The breaking story on Facebook user data being manipulated by Cambridge Analytica underscores the ways that data, when collected en masse, can be used to undermine democracy rather than expand it.
The CLOUD Act would recklessly expose the sensitive information that we entrust with big tech companies, creating loopholes for police in the US and other countries to access our information without judicial oversight.
It creates an end-run around the Fourth Amendment and endangers all internet users’ basic right to privacy, security, and free expression.
This controversial legislation would be a poison pill for the omnibus spending bill. Senate and House leadership should not use the budget process to sneak through legislation that impacts Internet users’ privacy and security. Decisions like this requires rigorous examination and public debate, now more than ever, and should not be made behind closed doors as part of back room Congressional deals.
The CLOUD Act would:
- Give U.S. law enforcement the power to access our data anywhere in the world, no matter what country that data is stored in, while bypassing current privacy requirements.
- Allow the U.S. president to enter international agreements, without Congressional approval, that allow foreign governments to directly obtain data in the U.S.—while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.
- Allow foreign governments to collect data directly from U.S. companies without requiring a U.S. warrant.
Joining organizations like the ACLU and EFF who also oppose this bill, Fight for the Future has launched a rapid response campaign opposing the inclusion of the CLOUD Act in the omnibus spending bill, and already more than 8,500 people have contacted their lawmakers through this site or by texting CLOUD to 384-387 (message and data rates apply, reply STOP to stop receiving messages.)