Cloud Act Resources

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.

Updated October 7, 2019

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