A new bill proposed last Thursday by Senators Orrin Hatch, Chris Coons, and Dean Heller, could help fix some troubling perception issues for Microsoft and other Cloud providers storing data in overseas datacenters.
The bipartisan proposal, called the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, simplifies and clarifies the United States’ jurisdiction to foreign data. The law seeks to limit the types of data that the US government has access to, ensuring that only American data stored there could be obtained. If a foreigner’s data is sought, the United States would be required to work through the local legal process in the country where the servers reside.
Microsoft has taken the lead in being very vocal about the business-limiting and overreaching rules employed by the US government. The latest issue, and the one that has finally caught the ire of US legislators, is where the US government took Microsoft to court over failing to hand over data stored on its servers in Dublin, Ireland. Despite ruling that Microsoft must turn over the data, the company stood fast and refused in defiance over laws that have destroyed trust and is severely limiting the company’s ability to do business overseas.
In addition to, hopefully, fixing the overseas problems, the new bill seeks to also enforce modified privacy laws for data stored in the US. Right now, law enforcement officials can obtain data without a warrant if the information has been stored for 6 months or longer.
The full text of the 11 page proposal can be read in PDF format here: Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act)