The CLOUD Act is a bill that gives authority more control over data GLOBALLY! Here’s why that’s a problem for all of us!
Part 4 of 5
Written, Edited & Filmed by Krish Mohan
Currently the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS when it wants to sound like a package delivery service that is sure to break anything fragile under the guise of safety or if it wants to sound like the transition technology between VHS and DVD…well they are currently working on a database collecting information on media influencers that might be talking about any event related to the DHS or well…any event! On Facebook that includes those of you that just click interested on events and never show up! Your artist friends know who you are and are really disappointed in you!
Media Influencers sounds like a job title you’d see at a tech start-up! Someone that pretentiously tells you why Twitter is better than Facebook and how you need hashtag particular things. It also sounds like someone that uses media sources like television, radio, print to get you buy into a particular agenda or product. So like corporate media. Is the DHS going to put Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper in their database? Is there room for shills or just people doing real journalism?
But they describe media influencers as any bloggers, correspondents, journalists, etc. So anyone that says anything about anything is on this database. So basically Humans and 6 very chatty & gossipy robots. And the contractor that gets this job, gets 24/7 access to all this information. What the DHS can guarantee is that Fourth Amendment will not be included this database.
Another bill that was recently passed by lawmakers that will not be including the Fourth Amendment in it’s discussion is the CLOUD Act. The Clarifying Overseas Use Of Data Act, or the CLOUD Act allows the trade of domestic data from US servers to international law enforcement agencies. From emails, call logs, videos, photos and a ton of data is now subject to a criminal investigation not only in the states with the DHS but also every other law enforcement agency in the world! Proving once and for all that Snapchat has been a snitch for the government, saving all your nudes in a folder called Leverage/Taxes 2010.
This bill is incredibly dangerous but some people make the claim that it’s not. According to University of Washington Law College Professor Jennifer Daskal, this circumvents the Mutual Legal Assistance which requires diplomatic assistance to matters of data and privacy between international parities. This can be a lengthy process.
Good. Lengthy process means that it makes law enforcement show their work. You know like every middle school math teach asked you to. Even Subway has a process to make sandwiches. It’s not just granted to you because you walked in through the door or crashed through the window! It keeps the credo of “Innocent until proven guilty!”
Daskal goes on to say that this bill won’t target US citizens or residents. So what about the immigrant communities? Some immigrants fear Immigrations and Customs Enforcement busting through their doors, guns ablazing and now we also have to worry the Bobbys from England with their batons and scalding hot tea! No thank you! Immigrants everywhere have just about had it with this Imperialism business.
In a retort to Daskal, ACLU Legislative Council Neema Singh Guliani points that the CLOUD Act wouldn’t protect human rights activists. Amnesty International has 68 countries that have persecuted, detained and arrested human rights defenders who would now get access to activists data! And it’s all determined by the Department of Justice! The only accurate part of that title is…’of’.
I know some of you out there are saying “But Krish, law enforcement wouldn’t do that. They are there to protect the people not turn them over to oppressive regimes!” Ok, America is a nation where a marijuana user gets the same sentence as someone that burned an orphanage to the ground. Not just that, our media, politicians and police have criminalized activism.
You think I’m making that up? Oklahoma, Louisiana, North Carolina, Minnesota are just few of the states have harsh penalties for non-violent protests. They get fines from $3000 for teaching people about these non-violent tactics, up to $10,000 or 20 years in prison in some states! That’s in America! The land of free with the largest prison population in the world! So unfortunately I doubt that the CLOUD Act will really be on the side of activists that are championing Human Rights! And it’s murky at best on Robot Rights.
Now according to Daskal this bill will be protecting Free Speech. But Singh-Guliani points out that the DOJ states they’ll respect the requesting country’s free speech laws within their vague criteria for what Human Rights are. They also say that the requester has to have credible and articulate facts. In the world of Fake News and loss of trust you might as well ask them to consider your horoscopes as facts.
The really horrifying part of this bill that it allows for wiretapping and it’s the first time these law enforcers can intercept communication in real time! It’s the Facebook Live of Mass Surveillance! Not that Facebook Live isn’t that already, but this is arguably worse. Maybe this will encourage Zuckerberg to put a dislike button on his shitty social media platform we’re all addicted to!
Daskal says this bill doesn’t authorize foreign data requests but lifts the legislative bar on disclosures. Which is basically like saying “I didn’t say the N-Word, I just sang it in my favorite rap song at a Black Baptist church. I thought everyone would appreciate how cool I was being and the level of comfort I was showing in the moment!”
So how could this bill be passed if it’s that’s horrific? People must’ve marched up on to Congress itself! Sadly no. It was attached to the omnibus spending bill after it was barely talked about. They snuck it in like a drunk teenager sneaks into the house after a night of partying. Taking their cues from Cambridge Analytica they snuck something terrible into something that people can’t say no to. It’s basically the legislative equivalent of putting razor blades in candy!
At this point Congress has a few weeks to overturn this bill but unfortunately I doubt they will. Which is going to mean that we will have to fight even harder for our privacy. This is only the beginning of all this. If we want any moments of peace to ourselves, protect our activists fighting for basic human rights and our communities then we need to join in and fight back against this. Stand beside your those dissenters and make our voices so loud that the only way we can be quited is when we get our privacy back.