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March 13, 2018

13 March 2018

Potential Congressional Action on Cross Border Data? A Primer on the CLOUD Act

In recent years, the rise of cloud computing has led to more and more data being stored somewhere other than the jurisdiction in which it was created.  This trend increasingly has led U.S. law enforcement officials to demand access to information held abroad, just as foreign officials increasingly want access to data held inside the United States.  But satisfying these growing desires for cross-border access has proven complicated.  The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process has not kept pace with the Internet-fueled increase in data requests, nor has a workable alternative to that process emerged.  And questions remain as to whether relevant U.S. statutes authorize extraterritorial legal process.  Even if law enforcement officials do have tools that allow them to seek data held elsewhere, the holders of such data may face a conflict between their obligations to respond to one country’s lawful process and the obligations to comply with another country’s privacy protections or blocking statutes. (more…)

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