March 20, 2023

THE CLOUD: Is Uncle Sam spying on you?

Cloud computing has changed the way businesses work, providing a panacea for everyday data needs. But far from being a worry-free solution, an obscure section in a US law is casting doubt over the safety of cloud computing for EU citizens who use a US provider.

The controversial FISAA 1881a allows data held on any cloud computing service "within range of US jurisdiction” to be legally intercepted without the need for a "specific warrant”. This blanket power gives US authorities warrant-free access to data from companies outside the US. However, it only applies to EU citizens. US citizens and companies are protected by the US Fourth Amendment, which requires institutions to secure a warrant before accessing data.

This threat to privacy poses a real danger to EU citizens, especially when you consider the US view on financial regulation. What may be a perfectly legal financial transaction in the UK may be illegal in the US, and as offences need not take place on US soil to be considered a crime, any data held by a US provider relating to this transaction could expose financial directors to extradition and prosecution. A thought no business wants to entertain.

So what is the answer? Naturally, to avoid using a US service provider at all. But before you switch to a US company that holds its data in the EU, think again. A handy little clause in the amendment means that US service providers are legally obliged to hand over data held overseas or to face sanction. It appears Uncle Sam can watch you wherever you are in the EU. 


Make sure you know where your transaction or backup data is held to ensure you understand the full implications.
Contact DATAFORT for advice on supporting your productivity and protecting your business assets.


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DATAFORT provides dependable and secure data protection services that offer enterprise-level functionality with a focus on security and reliability. Its software and services are used by thousands of organisations worldwide, ranging from SMBs through to large enterprises and local government departments. Every hour of every day someone, somewhere backs up with DATAFORT. The company was founded in 2000, is headquartered in Guildford, UK and has offices in London and New York. For further information please visit or call 0800 45 44 35.Guildford, UK and has offices in London and New York.


Press and analyst contacts:


Nabeel Qureshi
01483 872 052