President Donald Trump just signed the 2,232 page omnibus bill, making the CLOUD Act law after it was attached to the government spending package despite privacy concerns from human rights, civil liberties and privacy advocates. Companies like Facebook and Google lobbied for the legislation.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future strongly opposed the CLOUD Act and its inclusion in the budget bill, and mobilized more than 14,000 people to contact Congress in recent days.
Following Trump’s signing of the omnibus bill, Fight for the Future Deputy Director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her) release the following statement:
Decisions that affect the future of the Internet should never be made behind closed doors or snuck into law through budget proceedings.
It’s outrageous that Congress would rush to enact legislation that undermines Internet privacy while the entire Internet is in uproar over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The CLOUD Act exposes the sensitive information that we entrust with big tech companies by granting police in the US and other countries new powers to access our information without judicial oversight or warrant requirements.
It creates an end-run around the Fourth Amendment and endangers all internet users’ basic right to privacy, security, and free expression.
Congress has failed time and time again to rein in corporate and government surveillance and privacy invasions. It’s time for Internet users to organize en masse to demand change.
The CLOUD Act will:
- 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.