Friday, February 3, 2023

The CLOUD Act Is a Disaster for Privacy and Advocates Are Pissed

The CLOUD Act Is a Disaster for Privacy and Advocates Are Pissed

In the face of a potential government shutdown, the United States has just passed an omnibus spending bill. The problem? Thousands of pages into the bill, the so-called CLOUD Act was slyly embedded with no opportunity for true debate. Detractors are saying the troubling legislation mismanages power and eviscerates the privacy guarantees provided by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Thought leaders in crypto and beyond are sounding off accordingly. 

Also see: Staying True to Satoshi’s Vision: First Conference Kicks Off in Tokyo

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‘Dangerous Legislation’

The CLOUD Act — short for the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act — has been signed into law upon President Trump’s signing of its Senate-approved parent omnibus spending bill.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called the CLOUD Act, originally sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT),  a “dangerous piece of legislation” that could open the floodgates for new, systemic abuses of privacy the world over.

The legislation would allow foreign nations to collect data from U.S. companies without the need for a warrant, among other measures that seemingly erode privacy measures across the board.

The passing of the act comes on the heels of the recent privacy zeitgeist and public outrage over reports alleging U.K. data science firm Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook users’ data to facilitate microtargeting for propagandistic electioneering.

Detractors Are Sounding Off Loud and Clear

Privacy advocates are not happy, to say the least. In the political sphere, the Senate’s resident Libertarian maverick Rand Paul (R-TN) lobbied against the bill over the past few days.

In the crypto space, which is already crawling with hyper-private cypherpunks, many thought leaders decried the act in the strongest possible terms. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency scholar Andreas Antonopoulos for one told the community it was time to “Go dark.”

Antonopoulos went on to say concerned citizens should donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who he asserted led a vocal resistance against the CLOUD Act:

There are ways to protect yourself going forward, though. Some might consider the suggestions in the following Twitter thread, for example. As the saying goes, if you need something done, you have to do it yourself.

What’s your take? Will the CLOUD Act affect your cybersecurity practices going forward? Sound off in the comments below. 

Images via WSJ, NBC

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