Digital Privacy Advances with Passage of CLOUD Act


After a multi-year effort to modernize U.S. digital privacy law, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act) was enacted on March 23. The legislation was included in the omnibus budget bill for fiscal year 2018.

Passage of the CLOUD Act represents a milestone for digital privacy. U.S. privacy law now better reflects today’s cloud computing technology—not the era of the floppy disc.

Over the last few years, Congress became increasingly aware and informed about the problems of uncertain digital privacy protections. The lack of legal clarity hampered business development and innovation—as well as threatened trust in cloud computing technology.

The Voices for Innovation community played a critical role in educating Congress about this issue and urging action.

What’s Next for Digital Privacy?

The CLOUD Act fundamentally improves digital privacy and provides important legal clarity. At the same time, the CLOUD Act is just one step in advancing data privacy, protecting human rights, and supporting law enforcement worldwide.

The legislation encourages the development of bilateral agreements between the U.S. and partner nations to protect privacy and strengthen law enforcement. Our nation has already negotiated such an agreement with the UK, and now additional agreements must be reached with other nations.

Voices for Innovation will continue to monitor the progress of digital privacy policies and keep our members informed about this and other key tech policy issues.

For additional insight into the CLOUD Act, please read a recent blog by Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, “The CLOUD Act is an important step forward, but now more steps need to follow.”