A foreign power with possible unbridled access to Europe’s data is causing alarm in the region. No, it’s not China. It’s the United States.
As the US pushes ahead with the “Cloud Act” it enacted about a year ago, Europe is scrambling to curb its reach. Under the act, all US cloud service providers, from Microsoft and IBM to Amazon – when ordered – have to provide American authorities with data stored on their servers, regardless of where it’s housed. With those providers controlling much of the cloud market in Europe, the act could potentially give the US the right to access information on large swaths of the region’s people and companies.
The US says the act is aimed at aiding investigations. But some people are drawing parallels between the legislation and the National Intelligence Law that China put in place in 2017 requiring all its organisations and citizens to assist authorities with access to information. The Chinese law, which the US says is a tool for espionage, is cited by President Donald Trump’s administration as a reason to avoid doing business with companies like Huawei Technologies.
“I don’t mean to compare US and Chinese laws, because obviously they aren’t the same, but what we see is that on both sides, Chinese and American, there is clearly a push to have extraterritorial access to data,” said Ms Laure de la Raudiere, a French lawmaker who co-heads a parliamentary cyber-security and sovereignty group.
“This must be a wake up call for Europe to accelerate its own, sovereign offer in the data sector.”