Europeans outraged over the US using Patriot Act for worldwide spying


Researchers from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands have condemned the United States for allowing the controversial Patriot Act to bypass foreign laws and let Americans intercept data from persons internationally.

In a just published study, Cloud Computing in Higher Education and Research Institutions and the USA Patriot Act, researchers from the school’s Institute for Information Law say that legislation enacted to allegedly protect the security of US citizens has in the process eroded privacy protections on a global scale.

As more and more companies and individuals across the world begin relying on cloud computing to store information digitally on remote servers, the Dutch researchers warn that the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allow for those files to be fed into the US intelligence community, disregarding privacy safeguards in place for others around the globe.

“Most cloud providers, and certainly the market leaders, fall within the US jurisdiction either because they are US companies or conduct systematic business in the US,” Axel Arnbak, one of the authors of the research paper, tells CBS News. “In particular, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FAA) makes it easy for US authorities to circumvent local government institutions and mandate direct and easy access to cloud data belonging to non-Americans living outside the US, with little or no transparency obligations for such practices – not even the number of actual requests.”

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