Story image

While the AU govt praises the new US Cloud Act, others aren't so welcoming

10 Apr 2018

The Australian Government has welcome the United States’ move to introduce more powers for law enforcement agencies to access overseas data.

The US recently passed the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (the CLOUD Act), which allows law enforcement agencies with warrants to directly access data held overseas.

Australian Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor says the CLOUD Act will improve law enforcement cooperation in the digital age, improve law enforcement’s access to information, and strengthen data protection measures no matter where that data is held.

"Timely access to electronic data held by communications service providers is an essential component of government efforts to protect public safety and combat serious crime, including terrorism, child sex offences, and organised crime,” Taylor explains. 

“Those efforts are impeded when access to important data held on servers overseas is slowed down by cumbersome processes not suited for fast-advancing communication environments, significantly delaying the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes.”

The CLOUD Act also allows bilateral agreements between the United States and other countries, as well as safeguards for lawful access to data. These safeguards are apparently based on adherence to human rights and the rule of law.

The Australian Government also believes the Act will also strengthen protections for customer data held by US companies, no matter where that data is stored.

“Given the size and scale of technology and communications companies based in the US, the CLOUD Act has the potential to be of significant benefit to law enforcement.  Australia welcomes the US taking leadership on this issue,” Taylor continues.

The CLOUD Act has come under fire from some dissenters who say it gives law enforcement too much power.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Camille Fischer wrote a blog in February, stating that the Act enables law enforcement to access data about a person regardless of where they live and where their information is stored.

“In other words, U.S. police could compel a service provider—like Google, Facebook, or Snapchat—to hand over a user’s content and metadata, even if it is stored in a foreign country, without following that foreign country’s privacy laws,” Fischer explains.

Requests for data from foreign countries were previously governed by Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs), but some fear the new Act may allow governments to bypass those treaties.

The Open Technology Institute, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the American Civil Liberties Union are also amongst the 24 agencies that have opposed the Act in a letter penned last March. You can read the letter here on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website. 

Survey: IT pros nostalgic over on-prem data centre visibility
There are significant security and monitoring challenges faced by IT staff responsible for managing public and private cloud deployments.
61% of CIOs believe employees leak data maliciously
Egress conducted a survey to examine the root causes of employee-driven data breaches, their frequency, and impact.
Opinion: BYOD can be secure with the right measures
Companies that embrace BYOD are giving employees more freedom to work remotely, resulting in increased productivity, cost savings, and talent retention.
Sonatype and HackerOne partner on open source vulnerability reporting
Without a standard for responsible disclosure, even those who want to disclose vulnerabilities responsibly can get frustrated with the process.
OutSystems and Boncode team up for better code analysis
The Boncode and OutSystems alliance aims to help organisations to build fast and feel comfortable that the work they're delivering is at peak quality levels.
Nuance biometrics fight back against fraud
Nuance Communications has crunched the numbers and discovered that it has prevented more than US$1 billion worth of fraud from being passed on to users of its Nuance Security Suite.
SIS announces a partnership with Platform 4
“We are looking forward to a strong future in the New Zealand security industry with this global giant as our strategic partner."
Attacks targeting Cisco Webex extension explode in popularity - WatchGuard
WatchGuard's Internet Security Report for Q4 2018 also finds growing use of a new sextortion phishing malware customised to individual victims.