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Experts warn the cloud’s Privacy dangers – Big Brother Watch


The Government’s use of the Cloud may be put on hold after Members of Parliament raised concerns that the service allows sensitive personal information about British citizens to be spied on by the US authorities.

A European Commission report highlights how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendment Act (FISAA) allows US authorities to spy on cloud data. This could include services such as Amazon Cloud Drive, Apple iCloud and Google Drive.

Casper Bowdem, the author of the report and former chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe, has said that the FISAA “What’s amazing is that nobody really spotted it for four years. When FISAAA was extended to cover cloud computing, encrypting data to and from the cloud becomes irrelevant so it is surprising that nobody noticed this.” Casper Bowdem’s words are especially  poignant at a time when the Government is considering recommendations made on the draft Communications Data Bill.

The US law allows American agencies to access all private information stored with firms within Washington’s jurisdiction, without a warrant, if the information is felt to be in the US interests. Four suppliers of the UK Government’s G-Cloud system are located in the US. What is almost certainly clear is that the surveillance that this legislation would be ruled unconstitutional if the US government tried to use these powers on its own citizens.

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