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Electronic Frontier Foundation Privacy Cloud Government Security United States

New Bill In Congress Would Bypass the Fourth Amendment, Hand Your Data To Police ( 248

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Medium: Lawmakers behind a new anti-privacy bill are trying to sneak it through Congress by attaching it to the must-pass government spending bill. The CLOUD Act would hand police in the U.S., and other countries, extreme new powers to obtain and monitor data directly from tech companies instead of requiring a warrant and judicial review. Congressional leadership will decide whether the CLOUD Act gets attached to the omnibus government spending bill sometime this week, potentially as early as tomorrow... If passed, this bill would give law enforcement the power to go directly to tech companies, no matter where they or their servers are, to obtain our data. They wouldn't need a warrant or court oversight, and we'll be left with no protections to ensure law enforcement isn't violating our rights. A recent report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains how the CLOUD Act circumvents the Fourth Amendment. "This new backdoor for cross-border data mirrors another backdoor under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, an invasive NSA surveillance authority for foreign intelligence gathering," reports the EFF. "That law, recently reauthorized and expanded by Congress for another six years, gives U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA, FBI, and CIA, the ability to search, read, and share our private electronic messages without first obtaining a warrant. The new backdoor in the CLOUD Act operates much in the same way. U.S. police could obtain Americans' data, and use it against them, without complying with the Fourth Amendment."
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New Bill In Congress Would Bypass the Fourth Amendment, Hand Your Data To Police

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  • If you don't want government or corepirate scum hoovering up your data and giving it to whomever their little black hearts desire, keep it locally, on your own servers or on your own computer(s). At least then they will need a warrant to break into your home and access it. (If not a warrant, there's likely to be physical evidence of a break-in).

    Cloud = Someone Else's Computer.

  • bipartisan support (Score:5, Informative)

    by liquid_schwartz ( 530085 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @11:37PM (#56263123)
    If there's one thing both Republicans and Democrats can agree on it's that the government needs more access and citizen's concerns are not important. Citations: [] []
    • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `epopcitsonga'> on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:58PM (#56265077) Journal


      It's unfortunate that the USA PATRIOT act was passed but it's notable, that the bill had only one senator voting against it (who was later defeated). In other house, the bill was passed 347 to 66 [] -- nays included Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders (back when he was in the house).

      Bipartisan opposition to tyrannical legislation also has a proud history.

      • It's also good to point out that the Patriot Act that was originally passed was completely different than the bipartisan one the Senate created back at the time. The original bipartisan version created in the Senate had actual privacy balance - the Bush Administration created their own version and got the Senate leadership (Republican at the time I believe) to switch it at the last minute with the version created by the Senate in a up or down vote (shortly after 9/11). And the rest is history....

        At the
    • If you can bypass the 4th amendment, then you can bypass the "right to carry arms".

      Ether you abide by a constitution or you live in a pending dictatorship.

  • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @11:41PM (#56263143)

    Brought to you by Rep. Collins, Doug [R-GA-9] (Introduced 02/06/2018).

    If there was someone I wouldn't feel bad about getting SWATTED, it would be this douchecanoe.

  • Kill Bill (Score:5, Funny)

    by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @11:52PM (#56263175)

    Bill In Congress Would Bypass the Fourth Amendment, Hand Your Data To Police

    I say we just crowdfund a blonde katana wielding female assassin and have her kill this Bill character, he seems to be nothing but trouble.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Imagine it had all gone to plan, Trump got to power with a majority instead of a minority. He does his "do it anyway" power grab and they do it anyway. He builds up Muslims as the common enemy with Putin. Trump forms a 'cyber security' section of Homeland Security which works with Russia on US cyber security to protect against this 'Muslim terror threat'. Any barriers internally the US removed to protect its people also fall away as soon as the enforcement barrier to foreign nations is removed.

    Putin gets it

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @11:57PM (#56263189) Homepage

    You can write all the imaginary laws you like in the US, it will not protect US corporations from prosecution for failing to adhere to search warrant requirements in other countries. It will be interesting to watch the outcome when the first US executives are given custodial sentences for breaking what a core laws, with regard to citizens rights and the proper application of justice, of they are locals, well, serving another country in a criminal act, is treason. Interesting time for executives of US corporations operating in other countries, would not take the job or the threat of imminent imprisonment and it will occur.

  • by Archfeld ( 6757 )

    So stop providing your data in unencrypted format to parasitic software companies that store and aggregate it...

  • Clearly only terrorists care about privacy and silly things like civil rights.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:07AM (#56263209)

    If passed, this bill would give law enforcement the power to go directly to tech companies, no matter where they or their servers are, to obtain our data.

    Pretty sure that violates some sort of principals of sovereignty, but yeah, you try doing that.
    Don't complain when China comes knocking asking for access to your servers, too.

    • by jwymanm ( 627857 )
      Knowing our government they probably wouldn't complain. Nobody gives a shit anymore since they all take care of #1 - themselves. Everyone who wrote this bill and bills like it should be put in jail without question.
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:18AM (#56263239) Journal

    They handed our comments to another dimension.

    Wonder if I'll ever see this one...

  • by Humbubba ( 2443838 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:18AM (#56263241)
    Subverting the Constitution - why?

    "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." Warren Buffett

    "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

    Oh, yeah. That's right

    • Wish I had mod points +1. I wonder who has been pushing all this division lately to distract us from all the important issues facing Americans...
  • Not likely...

    I mean, wouldn't that still require cooperation from law enforcement in the country where the server resides?

  • After all, it's the only amendment Americans actually seem to care about. Well part of it anyway, we'll just ignore the well regulated militia part.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:39AM (#56263287) Journal

    Who the hell would sponsor such a bill?

    Friends, meet Representative Doug Collins (R-GA): []

    • His second-highest source of funding is TV/Movies/Music. Number 10 for him is Telecom Services. No mention of funding from law enforcement or anything of that nature, so you get an idea of who really wants the legislation.

      Health Professionals $47,450

      TV/Movies/Music $34,000

      Insurance $31,800

      Lawyers/Law Firms $29,200

      Retail Sales $28,850

      Retired $27,318

      Leadership PACs $24,707

      Food & Beverage $23,741

      Real Estate $22,200

      Telecom Services $21,500

    • Don't expect him to lose votes over this.

  • They're the cvs of the legal system. This one isn't checked in yet. Thanks for posting the link to the bill. Weird that I see no comments and browser opens a post window first.

  • In the headline it says 39 posts but I can't see any. Been messing around again, ms mush?

  • Such a bill could bring attention to securing you data in the cloud, and potentially encourage companies to encrypt data in the cloud in such a way that the could provider cannot access it. Would help not just against government spying, but also against cloud companies getting hacked.

  • OK, pass this bill. With law enforcement going to tech companies to get our info, I suspect that this would start a growing movement to bring servers in-house where every family runs their own server, and therefore controls their own privacy. Police will still need a search warrant signed by a judge to search your home. You can try to circumvent the constitution, but people will adapt.
  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @01:37AM (#56263371) Journal

    Wow that summary is a giant load of crap. Doesn't even indicate what the bill is about.

    The Cloud act is about establishing a process which approved foreign governments may follow when requesting information about non-US persons (neither citizen nor resident) from US companies. For example, if there were a bombing in the UK, by a UK citizen, and the the UK police wanted to get the perpetrator's Apple Maps history, they could follow this process to request that data from Apple, a US company storing the data in the US.

    To be eligible, the foreign government law must "afford robust substantive and procedural protections for privacy and civil liberties", as agreed to by both the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State, with Congress able to overrule approvals.

    Requests must be based on "articulable and credible facts" and subject to "review or oversight by a court, judge, or magistrate or other independent authority".

    Any information revealed about US persons may not be shared with the US government.

    That's the general gist of the bill. You can read it for further details. You'll likely find some good and some bad in it.

    Here's one opinion piece about it: []

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Oh come on, you're going to spoil everyone's outrage with facts. This story is fake news, enjoy it while you can!
    • Fine! If that's the way they want to write the bill, then let it stand on its own merit. This business of attaching riders to other bills, THAT's the real danger in the system. Every law that passed as a rider on another bill should be repealed and re-voted upon as a stand-alone bill.
  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @01:39AM (#56263373) Journal

    I was going to rage against (R) voters, but I see that this bill has (D) co-sponsors.

  • EFF (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmimatt ( 1021295 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @01:44AM (#56263381)
    This is why donating to organizations like EFF and EPIC is important.
    • "Have you ever considered piracy?" -Dread Pirate Roberts
  • Click on TFA to see comments and none are visible.

    TLAs putting our tax dollars to use?


  • the head of fbi turns out as a multi billionaire via "investing his money wisely"?

    that is one reason why this surveillance without oversight stuff is getting way out of hand. it gives direct access to investment information. it is very easy to privately argue even that such information should be used by americans to further their investments in china and elsewhere and that "oh the russians are doing it already".

    of course who it gets to benefit is just chosen by.. well, the local putin equivalent. it's not g

  • Now the 4th goes out the window. I better clean out the spare room in order to properly quarter the soldier that will be assigned to my home.

  • Strange how the constitution is considered extremely important when it comes to allowing people to have guns, yet it is thrown out the window when it comes to communications privacy. Why does the US even have a constitution if they can shove it aside so easily?

    Finding loopholes in the constitution... think about that for a moment.

  • This thread already dead after ~59 posts. Any idea what happened?
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @04:36AM (#56263619)

    Maybe I'm completely wrong here but I actually read the legal text and it appears that this is a response to the Microsoft debacle where Microsoft is refusing to fork over data because it's stored outside the US. From what I can tell, it would be used for a reciprocal agreements to disclose overseas data, meaning if the EU law enforcement wanted access to XYZ stored in the US that the company would have to comply and vice-versa.

    I really do apologize for not being instantly outraged but in true /. fashion I didn't bother to RTFA. ;)

  • Another server failure?
    Because I see the indicator says there are 69 reactions yet none show up.

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure this new break of privacy would invalidate the new agreements on data security with the EU.
  • I keep a small cache of enticing files in several places, including Dropbox. Things with names that the curious will want to know more about, or run to their superiors with. The content itself is banal, but it does make for some quiet entertainment, to think of which idiots think they have a winner by snooping on my sh*t.

  • Now you know how you will be treated once you relinquish control of your firearms.

    Once they took them from us in Australia, laws like this came soon after. I get it that gun control is a major issue, however I don't think the kids calling for that understand the complexity of mental health issues that drive people to kill, nor do they understand the complexities of the force of the people equalizing the force of the state supported by the US constitution.

    Seeing laws like this makes me support gun contro

  • How would a law passed in the US force European companies to break European data protection law?

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      Because a lot of companies knowingly went for cheap and took a cloud service in the USofA.
  • Why do we always have to fight the government that was set up to protect us?
  • How can they even have power over servers in other countries? Will they be making world wide agreements with other govs?
    Or is this only about US companies with servers in other countries, even in those cases don't the rights of the data on these servers fall under the country where stored?

  • Let's hope this goes the way of SOPA and PIPA
  • by andydread ( 758754 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @07:44AM (#56263897)
    let's hope this goes the way of SOPA and PIPA
  • Sponsors (Score:5, Informative)

    by JeffOwl ( 2858633 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @07:47AM (#56263901)
    Primary: Rep. Collins, Doug [R-GA-9] CoSponsors: Rep. Jeffries, Hakeem S. [D-NY-8]* Rep. Issa, Darrell E. [R-CA-49]* Rep. DelBene, Suzan K. [D-WA-1]* Rep. Marino, Tom [R-PA-10]* Rep. Rutherford, John H. [R-FL-4]* Rep. Demings, Val Butler [D-FL-10]* Rep. Holding, George [R-NC-2] Rep. Smith, Lamar [R-TX-21]
  • Who didn't see this kind of stuff as the ultimate problem of putting everything on the cloud, out of users' physical reach. Way beyond availability, data loss, or security, having all that data "out there" is the irresistible prize of gov't surveillance and investigation. Don't need to send the FBI into your house with a keystroke logger, just tap into the cloud provider directly.

    I've been sure for a very long time they have already been doing this. The Snowdon docs notwithstanding, I believe even one of th

  • I expected at least one spirited defense of cloud from the "lawful access" people.
  • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @08:27AM (#56263969)
    The only one there is ever any fight over is the 2nd, maybe the 1st.
  • ... if we could get the 2nd Amendment people to start defending the 4th Amendment a little more.


  • The average American will applaud them for this Constitutional weakening.

  • The lead page shows over 100 comments, but I came here and see no comments yet..?
  • What's the remedy here? The ballot box? Pretty discouraging.
  • Isn't this just an expansion of 'Five Eyes' agreement that has been around since (..)? CA US UK AU NZ. I think the USG has been asking UK for intercepts of US Citizens for quite a while, like decades, quietly of course.
  • This is an expansion, and codification, of the 'rather secret' UK CA AU USA NZ agreement where the USG could gain access to intercepts of a US Citizen from one of the other 4. Under unusual circumstances this has been done for decades, now the police chief in Podunk will be able to access 'legally' without warrant - that is a great idea for dictators. What happened to our Constitution?
  • This is an expansion of the 'Secret' 5 Eyes agreement with the UK CA US NZ AU - for decades USG has been able to get intercepts of its Citizens without warrant "Because UK intercepted it and 'shared' it with us". This will codify and seem to 'legalize' violations of the Fourth Amendment, and it seems, make it possible for the police chief of Podunk to 'tap the wires' of anybody without warrant. What about our Constitution?
  • This is an expansion of the 'Secret' 5 Eyes agreement with the UK CA US NZ AU - for decades USG has been able to get intercepts of its Citizens without warrant "Because UK intercepted it and 'shared' it with us". This will codify and seem to 'legalize' violations of the Fourth Amendment, and it seems, make it possible for the police chief of Podunk to 'tap the wires' of anybody without warrant. What about our Constitution?
  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @10:42AM (#56264403)

    What did you think the "3rd party doctrine" was going to mean? It means that the 4th amendment is a dead letter the moment you put your data into the hands of a third party. This kind of absolute shit reasoning is why I laugh in the face of the rose-cheek, earnest face fucks who pull a pedantic poindexter by going "but da SCOTUS said X so that is clearly what it means:"

    In Katz v. United States (1967), the United States Supreme Court established its reasonable expectation of privacy test. In 1976 (United States v. Miller) and 1979 (Smith v. Maryland), the Court affirmed that "a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties."

    So in other words, even if you signed a legally binding contract with the third party, the intellectual giants of the court know you REALLY did not have an expectation of privacy. Even if Verizon promised in writing to go so far as to hire Blackwater and assassinate hackers who go after your data, you simply don't have an expectation of privacy because the court said so.

  • This is why all your data should always be stored in an encrypted format and you should never use plaintext or insecure data providers, including email.
  • and yet we can't challenge the program since no one can seem to prove standing
  • Give my phones away. Go back to cash.
  • It's a tragedy that when this bill gets shot down as unconstitutional, the critters that wrote it won't get punished.

  • Please stop calling such measures circumvention. It's no different than Implied Consent laws. Law enforcement and criminal justice officials who employ such methods with the clarity of language afforded by the Bill of Rights are in open rebellion against the Constitution and the will of the people. It's not circumvention, it's treason.
    • *Side note: not treason the crime as defined in the constitution, but in the more general definition of the word. Crimes would include the violation of civil rights, violations of oath of office as well as any other laws covering actions in direct attacks on law / persons.
    • The only case of Implied Consent I can think of is that, if I drive on public roads, I've given consent to alcohol testing. Driving on public roads is a potentially very dangerous activity, and imposing conditions on it is reasonable. One condition is that I hold a valid driver's license, and another that I may be tested for blood alcohol.

  • Local church runs e-mail service for it's parishioners. I'd like to see how this will go down.

  • at least we know why the FBI is whining about encryption so much.

    All that Cloud data is a juicy target for them. . . . as long as they can decrypt it.

    Useless to them if they cannot.

    If you're doing the Cloud thing, make sure your data is encrypted before your Cloud provider receives it. At least, this way, they have to ask YOU for access to that data vs handing your provider a National Security Letter that lets them peruse your data at will.

  • If child pornographers are not using your data server, your data is not private

  • The all seeing eye on top of the pyramid on your dollar bills seems to be becoming a reality. Sadly that eye seems to be the CIA controlled by a demented pervert we call the president.
  • I run all my services on Linux locally on my own hardware. It isn't that I don't care, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that I started a few years ago to have it all internal to my own location on my own hardware. They can ask all the want but without a warrant they get nothing. Email, web server, sip phone/asterisk, chat, nextcloud, etc., everything that I can house here that's what happens.

    All my computers run Linux except my router which runs pfsense. I value my privacy even as others keep tryin

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