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Legal Authority in the Clouds

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Townhall covers CEI's support of the CLOUD Act of 2018.

Cloud storage and computing is an emerging technology increasingly in use worldwide. Documents and email discussions can be stored in the Cloud, and then be accessed by collaborators from anywhere to work on joint projects together.

That is an American led business, with market leaders such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, among others. But U.S. law has not yet caught up with the technology, though that is being resolved now, in the courts and in Congress.

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Just this week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch will be introducing bipartisan legislation, Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act of 2018, with Senators Coons (D-DE), Graham (R-SC) and Whitehouse (R-RI). Representatives Collins (R-NY), Jeffries (D-NY), Issa (R-CA) and DelBene (D-WA) will introduce companion legislation in the House. President Trump and the Justice Dept. also support it.

The bill establishes a formal framework to resolve the issues diplomatically through international bilateral agreements recognizing the valid rights and interests of all parties. Protects privacy and constitutional rights by requiring warrants to search any data held at home and abroad. Protects cloud providers through rights to notify foreign governments of warrant requests, and to seek judicial review. Protects law enforcement, and economic opportunities, by clarifying procedures and legal rights. 

A broad range of civil libertarians and economic libertarians support the bill, including Americans for Tax Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Freedom Works, National Taxpayers Union, American Commitment, Citizens Against Government Waste, Campaign for Liberty, and Free the People, among others. This broad and bipartisan support is because everyone can see that these issues cannot be governed by a law enacted over 30 years ago, even before the rise of the modern internet, and now outdated AOL even started offering email.

Read the full article at Townhall.