LEADS Action Center


Support Privacy Protections for the Cloud Computing Age

Right now, legal privacy protections for email and other cloud-stored data are weak—and could get weaker. Fundamentally, this is a legal and policy issue—not a technical matter.

In a September 2015 U.S. Court of Appeals hearing, where Microsoft challenged the U.S.’s request for private data held in Ireland, the U.S. government asserted its right and even the right of other nations to access data beyond national borders.

The growing threat of privacy and confidentiality intrusions is eroding trust in technology. Without user trust, innovation and its benefits are undermined. As troubling, people are losing confidence that our nation is upholding the commitment to privacy enshrined in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act—the LEADS Act—will help restore trust in tech by ensuring that digital communications and data receive the same privacy protections as paper letters and documents. The LEADS Act will:

  • Require a court-approved search warrant—for government agencies to access private digital communications and documents, just as required for government access to physical documents.
  • Establish fair rules for government to access data stored abroad—this will protect Americans’ privacy and set a model for other nations.
  • Strengthen international cooperation—U.S. law enforcement will be better able to conduct international investigations through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with other nations.

Please voice your support now for the LEADS Act by writing and calling Congress! 


Court Case Coverage

What Experts, Analysts, and Lawmakers are Saying

“Without an appropriate legal framework, the current state of affairs regarding extraterritorial use of warrants puts the privacy of American citizens at risk. That is why I introduced the LEADS Act: to promote international comity and law enforcement cooperation.” — Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

“Broadband Internet extends beyond borders and our laws need to balance the privacy rights law-abiding citizens are guaranteed under the 4th Amendment with the ability for law enforcement to do its job. This legislation [LEADS Act] is a step in the right direction providing the necessary clarity with our laws.” — Senator Dean Heller (R-NV)

“U.S. companies need clear guidelines on when they have to turn over electronic communications to law enforcement if that information is stored abroad. The current uncertainty harms U.S. businesses and their customers, and does not well-serve our foreign relationships. The LEADS Act is an important step in solving one of the most challenging issues in the electronic information age.”— U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA)

“Privacy protections clearly need to apply even in the age of cloud computing. That is why Congress must make sure that the law keeps up with the times.” — New York Times editorial

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.” — Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer

“This case [Microsoft v. U.S.] sets an international precedent. It opens up U.S. citizens to having their communications accessed by governments overseas.” — Peter Swire, Professor of Law and Ethics, Georgia Tech

“The right to keep that data private is essential—and it requires that we extend and adapt longstanding legal protections to the new context of today’s digital world.” — Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA/Software Alliance

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commented 2016-03-01 17:02:21 -0800 · Flag
this sounds like an excellent path to follow!!