Many firms are switching to cloud-based data storage, including the one I work for. While loss of data is a valid concern, security of data and client files is another one. Some of the major companies behind cloud storage, however, are teaming to persuade Congress to implement better data privacy laws.

The companies, including AT&T, Google, and Microsoft, are calling themselves the Due Process Coalition. The group wants existing laws changed to protect online data from government access.

One of the major goals is to require law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before obtaining access to online data. Presently, most prosecutors use a subpoena to get individuals online data. The coalition is also hoping to protect location information for individuals gathered by cellphone companies through GPS technology.

Under the current law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, lots of individual data can be obtained via subpoena. Including Gmail accounts, Facebook, and other cloud-based storage. In addition, the Department of Justice recently argued that cellphone location data is not protected, because individuals waive their expectation of privacy by allowing companies to gather that information.

It will take some time for the arguments to settle, and to push new legislation that will change the landscape. In the meantime, make sure both you and your clients know how their online data is stored, and how it can be accessed.

(photo: squacco)

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