August 16, 2018 Top Story

Electronic Data Stored Abroad Now Subject to Federal Seizure

CLOUD Act intended to balance effective law enforcement and personal data privacy

By Kristen L. Burge

The federal government can seize electronic data stored abroad by serving a warrant on a U.S.-based company.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act authorizes the seizure of electronic data abroad and provides statutory procedures for quashing warrants when searches conflict with foreign law. While the Act purports to protect public safety and combat serious crime, critics question whether the law strikes an appropriate balance between effective law enforcement and privacy rights.

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