31 Jan 2013
So, who’s for Microsoft Office 365? Or Google Apps? Amazon Web Services? It’s the cloud and it’s the future. Unfortunately, the US government thinks it owns the cloud – at least that’s what the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 seems to suggest.
The Act represents a ratcheting up of Bush-era “anti-terror” legislation that authorises America’s security services to tap into any foreign individual’s or company’s files and data held either on computing infrastructure owned by an American company. They don’t need to ask anyone first and, not only that, the authorities can demand a real-time feed so that they can see exactly what you are doing, and when.
And it isn’t a concern strictly for the tin-foil hatters. In 2006, the British boss of a Costa Rica-based gambling website Betonsports.com, David Carruthers, was arrested by US authorities as he changed planes at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport en route to the office.
His offence? Breaking US gambling laws, despite not being American or operating on US soil. Carruthers was charged with violations of the Wire Wager Act, the Travel Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, not to mention tax evasion and money laundering. Given all that he was lucky to “only” get 33 months in a US jail.
One can only speculate what the US reaction would have been if the roles had been reversed...
Any company that has so much as sent a CD to a buyer in Cuba, Iran or whoever else is subject to the US “sanctions de jour” could have their company’s cloud security lawfully hacked by US authorities.
Maybe the next time FISA is renewed it will add the right of “extraordinary rendition”?
So, who’s for Office 365 now?