Last year Congress enacted the CLOUD Act (the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) to clarify the means for foreign legal authorities to access electronic information held by U.S.-based global providers. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), in April 2019, issued a White Paper entitled “Promoting Public Safety, Privacy, and the Rule of Law Around the World: The Purpose and Impact of the CLOUD Act.” This White Paper lays out the policy and legal reasons for enactment of the CLOUD Act, and explains how the CLOUD Act overlays and interacts with existing laws and established inter-governmental practices.
On March 23, 2018, Congress passed the “Clarifying Overseas Use of Data Act,” also known as the “CLOUD Act” (H.R. 4943, S. 2383), a new U.S. law that will have a dramatic effect on the United State government’s control over and access to data stored overseas. The CLOUD Act was introduced to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on February 6, 2018, as part of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill. The bill passed both houses of Congress on March 23, 2018, and was signed into law by the President the next day.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made headlines on March 26 when Chairman Ajit Pai proposed that the FCC bar several companies, in the name of national security, from participation in the FCC programs. The FCC plans to vote on this proposal at its next Open Meeting on April 17, 2018.
The proposal was prompted by letters he received from 18 Congressional leaders last December, which asserted the potential for compromised security of U.S. telecommunications networks through insecure equipment supply chains required FCC consideration. Chairman Pai responded to the Congressional letters by noting that FCC itself does not purchase or use the equipment from the named companies and would not intend to take service from a service provider that does. The Chairman however did not stop there; he is proposing that certain companies be barred from participating in the Universal Service Fund (USF) program that subsidizes carrier equipment.