The United States enacted the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in March 2018 to speed access to electronic information held by U.S.-based global providers that is critical to our foreign partners’ investigations of serious crime, ranging from terrorism and violent crime to sexual exploitation of children and cybercrime.
In recent years, the number of mutual legal assistance requests seeking electronic evidence from the United States has increased dramatically, straining resources and slowing response times. Foreign authorities have relatedly expressed a need for increased speed in obtaining this evidence. In addition, many of the assistance requests the United States receives seek electronic information related to individuals or entities located in other countries, and the only connection of the investigation to the United States is that the evidence happens to be held by a U.S.-based global provider. The CLOUD Act is designed to permit our foreign partners that have robust protections for privacy and civil liberties to enter into bilateral agreements with the United States to obtain direct access to this electronic evidence, wherever it happens to be located, in order to fight serious crime and terrorism.
The CLOUD Act thus represents a new paradigm: an efficient, privacy and civil liberties-protective approach to ensure effective access to electronic data that lies beyond a requesting country’s reach due to the revolution in electronic communications, recent innovations in the way global technology companies configure their systems, and the legacy of 20th century legal frameworks. The CLOUD Act authorizes bilateral agreements between the United States and trusted foreign partners that will make both nations’ citizens safer, while at the same time ensuring a high level of protection of those citizens’ rights.
The U.S. Department of Justice has created this page as a public resource for official CLOUD Act-related materials. Please feel free to bookmark this page and refer to it for updates.
- Full text of the CLOUD Act.
- U.S. Department of Justice, “ Promoting Public Safety, Privacy, and the Rule of Law Around the World: The Purpose and Impact of the CLOUD Act,” White Paper (April 2019).
- Frequently Asked Questions
CLOUD Act Agreements
- Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Access to Electronic Data for the Purpose of Countering Serious Crime | PDF (October 3, 2019)
- Materials conveyed to U.S. Congress in Support of U.S.-U.K. CLOUD Act Agreement (December 4, 2019)
- Supplementary letter conveyed to U.S. Congress in Support of U.S.-U.K. CLOUD Act Agreement (January 16, 2020)
- U.S. And UK Sign Landmark Cross-Border Data Access Agreement to Combat Criminals and Terrorists Online (October 3, 2019)
- Joint US-EU Statement on Electronic Evidence Sharing Negotiations (September 26, 2019)
- Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Australia on Access to Electronic Data for the Purpose of Countering Serious Crime | PDF (December 15, 2021)
- Materials conveyed to U.S. Congress in Support of U.S.-Australia CLOUD Act Agreement (December 22, 2021)
- United States and Australia Enter CLOUD Act Agreement to Facilitate Investigations of Serious Crime (December 15, 2021)
- Joint Statement Announcing United States and Australian Negotiation of a CLOUD Act Agreement by U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton (October 7, 2019)
Speeches and Testimony
- Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard W. Downing Delivers Remarks at the 5th German-American Data Protection Day on “What the U.S. Cloud Act Does and Does Not Do” (May 2019)
- Remarks of Richard W. Downing, U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General, at the Academy of European Law, London, U.K., “Prospects for Transatlantic Cooperation on the Transfer of Electronic Evidence to Promote Public Safety” (April 5, 2019).
- Remarks of Sujit Raman, U.S. Associate Deputy Attorney General, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., “Toward a New Paradigm on Cross-Border Data Flows: Moving Ahead with the CLOUD Act” (May 24, 2018).
- Statement of Richard W. Downing, U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (June 15, 2017).
- Statement of Brad Wiegmann, U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General, before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism (May 24, 2017).
- Written Testimony of Paddy McGuiness, U.K. Deputy National Security Advisor, before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, at a Hearing entitled “Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Across Borders: Facilitating Cooperation and Protecting Rights” (May 24, 2017).
- Video of a Hearing entitled “Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Across Borders: Facilitating Cooperation and Protecting Rights,” U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism (May 24, 2017)