The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act just passed – almost in secret – tucked deep inside a voluminous spending package of well over a trillion dollars. No debate. No up or down vote on the merits of CLOUD. Instead, lawmakers would have had to reject the entire bill, thousands of pages, and risk government shutdown, in order to mount any kind of opposition. CLOUD is a broadening of international law enforcement power when it comes to online activity, and the crypto community is worried.
Hey! You! Get Off My CLOUD!
Senator Orrin Hatch, President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, explained, "The CLOUD Act bridges the divide that sometimes exists between law enforcement and the tech sector by giving law enforcement the tools it needs to access data throughout the world while at the same time creating a commonsense framework to encourage international cooperation to resolve conflicts of law."
It hasn't been a great couple of weeks for cryptocurrency privacy advocates. Revelations from notorious whistleblower Edward Snowden showed a long, consistent pattern of US government eavesdropping and tracking of bitcoiners in particular since at least 2013. Now, new US legislation smuggled into an omnibus spending bill appears to give government ever-more power in its ability to monitor online privacy.
Sen. Rand Paul proved the only lawmaker to attempt reading all 2,232 pages.
On page 2,201 of a 2,232 page document finds the S. 2383/H.R. 4943 Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data portion, commonly referred to as the CLOUD Act. It's the combined brainchild of legal minds at Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Senator Orrin Hatch, 84, who has held his seat since 1977 (the year Star Wars opened, Jimmy Carter was president, and Atari 2600 was released).