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Study: Patriot Act doesn't give feds special access to cloud data

ComputerWorld - Other countries also can obtain personal data stored in the cloud, an international law firm found.

An often-repeated concern that the U.S. Patriot Act gives the U.S. government unequaled access to personal data stored on cloud services is incorrect, with several other nations enjoying similar access to cloud data, according to a study released Wednesday.

The governments of several other countries, including the U.K., Germany, France, Japan and Canada, have laws in place allowing them to obtain personal data stored on cloud computing services, said the study, by Hogan Lovells, an international law firm that focuses on government regulations and other topics.

The Patriot Act, passed as an anti-terrorism measure in 2001, is "invoked as a kind shorthand to express the belief that the United States government has greater powers of access to personal data in the cloud than governments elsewhere," wrote study co-authors Christopher Wolf, based in Washington, D.C., and Winston Maxwell, based in Paris. "However, our survey finds that even European countries with strict privacy laws also have anti-terrorism laws that allow expedited government access to cloud data."