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Omnibus Budget Bill Includes Legal Framework for Law Enforcement Access to Overseas Data

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Both chambers of Congress passed legislation that would establish a legal framework governing law enforcement access to overseas data.

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post published Wednesday that the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, or the CLOUD Act, would address foreign governments’ need to investigate crimes in their own territories.

The CLOUD Act was approved Friday as part of a $1.3 trillion omnibus funding bill for fiscal year 2018.

Smith added that the CLOUD Act is also intended to help technology companies uphold the privacy rights of their international customers.

The bill includes a provision that would prevent governments from requiring U.S. companies to “create backdoors” around encrypted data.

Smith noted that the U.S. government needs to establish new international agreements with other countries once the bill is signed into law.