Facebook, plunged into crisis by the Cambridge Analytica revelations, is now scrambling to assure users – and investors – that this time, their data really, truly is secure. And on a recent post-crisis media blitz, founder Mark Zuckerberg has emphasized that the mass exfiltration of scads of profiles from unsuspecting Facebook users was a vestige of a past privacy practice, not a symptom of anything wrong with current Facebook policy.
Yet Facebook urged Congress to pass a measure, the CLOUD Act, that privacy advocates warn makes it easier for a foreign government to acquire Americans’ emails, pics, videos and other online data, and then share that with U.S. law enforcement. It also makes it easier for those foreign governments to get the online lives of their own citizens from the servers of companies like Facebook.
Congress tucked the CLOUD Act into its omnibus spending bill – the measure it passed in the wee hours of Friday morning to avert a government shutdown. President Trump, after vacillating, signed it into law today.
“Despite Facebook's promise to take Americans' personal privacy seriously, it and other big tech companies championed a bill that will let foreign governments directly demand emails and other personal information from those under protection of U.S. law, all without oversight from U.S. courts,” Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee, told The Daily Beast on Friday.
"Congress has delivered a huge giveaway to big tech companies, at the expense of Americans' rights. Without one minute of debate, the CLOUD Act was jammed into a must-pass bill to satisfy tech giants.”