While you were reeling from the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, the U.S. government quietly passed a piece of legislation that has far bigger implications for your data.

The law is called the Clarifying Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act. It’s basically an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a series of laws that regulate how U.S. law enforcement officials can access data stored overseas. Congress passed those laws in 1986, and both the U.S. government and major tech companiesbelieve they are ill-equipped to handle today’s electronic communications.

Up until last week, the U.S. could only access data stored overseas through mutual legal-assistance treaties (MLATs). With a MLAT, two or more nations put in writing exactly how they are willing to help each other with legal investigations. The Senate votes on each MLAT, and it must receive a two-thirds approval to pass.

 

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