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EU Citizens Warned Not To Use US Cloud Services Over Spying Fears 138

Diamonddavej writes "Leading privacy expert Caspar Bowden warned European citizens not to use cloud services hosted in the U.S. over spying fears. Bowden, former privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe, explained at a panel discussion hosted at the recent Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels, that a section in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act 2008 (FISAAA) permits U.S. intelligence agencies to access data owned by non-U.S. citizens on cloud storage hosed by U.S. companies, if their activity is deemed to affect U.S. foreign policy. Bowden claimed the Act allows for purely political spying of activists, protesters and political groups. Bowden also pointed out that amendments to the EU's data protection regulation proposal introduce specific loopholes that permit FISAAA surveillance. The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves (at a separate panel discussion) commented, 'If it is a U.S. company it's the FBI's jurisdiction and if you are not a U.S. citizen then they come and look at whatever you have if it is stored on a U.S. company server.' The European Data Protection Supervisor declined to comment but an insider indicated that the authority is looking into the matter."
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EU Citizens Warned Not To Use US Cloud Services Over Spying Fears

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  • by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Thursday January 31, 2013 @07:10PM (#42756561) Homepage

    a friend of mine made a freedom of information request recently, and was surprised to find that his question was responded to using zendesk. so he looked up the IP address and, on discovering that the IP address was in the U.S., made some pointed enquiries as to why his confidential details, as well as UK Government matters, were being stored in a jurisdiction outside of the sovereignty of the UK.

    the best one though was learning that UK MPs have been issued with ippads. which is great. confidential UK business can be snooped on by not just the U.S. govt but by a U.S. Corporation, and UK MPs can be "advertised at", and sold commercial music and entertainment services that they have absolutely no business letting in to Parliament.

    all good fun, eh?

  • Poisoning the cloud (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @07:14PM (#42756593)

    Microsoft has been harping on about this before []. They previously said they themselves couldn't promise to keep their users' data private to the degree required by EU law.

    As I see it, what they're doing is trying to poison the whole idea of cloud services, because in poisoning their own market they also poison Google's. And while to Microsoft, 'cloud services' are an expensive and annoying distraction, to Google it's central to their entire business strategy.

  • translation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by terec ( 2797475 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @09:42PM (#42757605)

    If you look at, for example, the data protection laws here in Germany, the German government can get at my data even more easily than the FBI can get at data in the US. What I'm asking myself is: assuming that any government can look at data within its borders anyway, what's the best place to store my data? Good attributes for such a place are: I'm not living there, I don't want to travel there, and they aren't really on good terms with my government.

    I think what the EU representatives are really saying in so many words is: "don't store your data in the US, where European governments have a harder time getting at it, store it in Europe where we can get at it easily (but you can trust us!)".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:56AM (#42758789)

    You can still use cloud services as backup. Simply encrypt what you upload.

    Our company uses Google Docs and Drive extensively, and just use the Syncdocs plugin to secure the data.

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