Table of Contents
- 1 Online privacy was dealt a severe blow when, at the end of March 2018, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act was added almost at the very end of the 2,232-page budget project.
- 1.1 What is the CLOUD Act?
- 1.2 What can be done with this?
- 1.3 Protecting privacy is difficult, but possible
Online privacy was dealt a severe blow when, at the end of March 2018, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act was added almost at the very end of the 2,232-page budget project.
CLOUD has never been considered in the US Congress, no one has even been involved in verifying this act. Egoprost added to page No. 2201 of the draft budget, according to which it is planned to spend 1.3 trillion US dollars. The bottom line is that such projects are accepted as a whole – with everything that has been contributed to them. Are you daring?
With the entry into force of CLOUD, the government has a new way to access your data. More precisely, the method remains the same, just now the US government or another country will not need a warrant and court permission to access user data.
But do not fall into a longing, for not all is lost! We, the vpnMentor website team, have prepared a list of tips to help you stay confidential and anonymous while surfing the web.
What is the CLOUD Act?
So what is the act that even the US Congress decided to conduct it in a quiet way?
It all started a few years ago when a lawsuit related to the investigation of the crime was filed against one citizen of Ireland. The US government received a warrant requiring Microsoft to transfer data stored on the company’s Irish servers. Microsoft refused, citing the fact that the servers are located in the United States, and therefore there is no need to execute a court decision. The dispute between Microsoft and the US government lasted 4 years.
And now let’s move on to today: according to the CLOUD Act, the US government no longer needs a court order, and therefore Microsoft has no choice but to comply with legal requirements and transfer data. By the way, Microsoft representatives have already stated that they will continue to persist in their position, which is why they have handed over to the authorities all the necessary materials.
There are two main points in this act:
- Permission to access other people’s data can be obtained by any law enforcement agency. Whether it’s the local police or a federal agency, access to the “content of electronic correspondence and other records of information” should be provided no matter where the data is stored. And if we are talking about an American company, then it will have to transfer the requested information to the authorities, even if you are stored on servers in another country.
- The President of the United States can turn off “presidential agreements” with other countries, which allows them to access data stored outside the United States without due process in such cases. These data can be used in court against US citizens, despite the fact that they were obtained without a court order.
This can be so-called cannibalistic because it violates the privacy of your data.
Just imagine: the government of a country is investigating a case in which one of its citizens is involved and requires access to the personal page on Facebook of this person (or other social networks). In this case, Facebook will be required to transmit all the requested materials, among which may be information related to US citizens.
Do you know what is worst? Then this data can be transferred to the USA, and without a court decision!
You can read the full text of the CLOUD act here – just scroll to page 2201
What can be done with this?
If you are not ready to just take this and give up the right to confidentiality, then you know – we too. We have compiled a list of useful tips, following which you will protect your data from the government of any country in the world. Here you will find alternatives to popular sites, taxis, a list of services that you should start using for your own anonymity.
Keep VPN connection on
The first step towards protecting your privacy will be to sign up for a quality VPN service. Make a rule for yourself: all your actions on the Web should only be through a VPN!
A VPN service is a critical element in protecting online privacy, as it can be used to change your IP address and become online invisible. In addition, the VPN service allows you to use various security protocols to encrypt data, and then no government can decrypt it if it gets into its own hands. For details, read the article about all the features of VPN services.
Not all VPN services are the same, so you need to make sure that the service you choose provides protection against data leaks, does not keep logs and is registered in a country that is not a member of the Five Eyes club (or its version expanded to 14 eyes). In this regard, we especially recommend ExpressVPN, registered in the British Virgin Islands, or Romanian NordVPN. Both of these VPN services use excellent security protocols and have proven in practice that they do not keep logs.
Provider Our rating NordVPN
Private Internet Access
Recently, there are fewer and fewer reasons to trust Facebook. Especially when you consider that the Cambridge Analytica-related scandal is only gaining momentum. Natak found out long ago that the data access settings of more than 87 million Facebook users were indicated with an error.
Facebook data is a goldmine for law enforcement to find incriminating evidence on a potential suspect. Likes, lists of friends, groups, chats, and messages can be used as evidence, and therefore it is logical that investigators are very interested in gaining access to all this information. After the entry into force of the CLOUD Act, this will not constitute the slightest labor for him. The only solution, in this case, is to stop using Facebook and delete your account as quickly as possible.
Get rid of Dropbox
DropBox is perhaps the most well-known service that provides file-sharing services, but you cannot call it protected safely. Over the past few years, the company has repeatedly faced serious problems with the security of user data.
If you value your privacy, then sign up for the SpiderOak service, which Edward Snowden uses. SpiderOak is registered in the United States, one of which users do not need to be afraid of interest from the government – even if the company’s servers fall into the hands of the authorities entirely, what’s the point when the files are encrypted, and the keys by which they can be decrypted are in the hands of users?
Do not use cloud storage
Cloud storage is, of course, very convenient, because with their help you can access your files from anywhere and using almost any device. The problem is that all your documents, photos or private data can be accessed on several servers at once. And We Remember that the CLOUD act allows the authorities to access them without judicial permission.
If you need to use a cloud service, then use Tresorit – at least pass-through encryption is used there, as a service is not registered in the USA and not in a member country of the Five Eye club. If you are not going to use cloud storage, we recommend that you encrypt all your data using the VeraCrypt program, which creates encrypted backups of files on your hard drive.
ProtonMail instead of Gmail
Just imagine: you received a letter from an old friend, because of which all your emails fell into the hands of the authorities. They will probably be very interested in reading everything … Alas, if you use Gmail, Yahoo or any other popular free email service, then this situation is quite possible. In turn, ProtonMail is a completely anonymous service; To register an account, you don’t even have to provide it with your personal data. ProtonMail does not store user IP addresses, and all service email addresses are protected by end-to-end encryption.
The cherry on the cake: this is a Swiss service, subject only to the laws of Switzerland. The creators of ProtonMail also developed the ProtonVPN service – a serious VPN that can be integrated with TOR and, as a result, enjoy maximum anonymity. Read our full ProtonVPN review here.
Stop searching on google
Google (like Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook) strongly supports the CLOUD act! In other words, if Google receives a request from the authorities, it will gladly transmit all your data. The problem is that Google most likely knows the most about you, including yourself. Ida, Google even knows about everything that you were looking for, being drunk in the insole. Do you really want all of our valiant law enforcement officers to know about all this?
Of course, Google is the most popular search engine, but there are many services that will become worthy replacements – for example, StartPage. This service will also give you the results that Google, but more reliable and confidential. There is also DuckDuckGo – this service does not store user data at all. Accordingly, even if the government requires data transfer, then this request cannot be fulfilled – the data is drowning!
Protecting privacy is difficult, but possible
Maintaining anonymity after working on the Web is becoming more and more difficult, with the entry into force of the CLOUD Act, the need to hide their actions becomes a priority at all.
But we all do not urge you to pull out the entire technique of sockets to wrap. We only urge you to be careful and take care of the safety of your data in advance. You can start by subscribing to a VPN service, which can protect your anonymity. It will allow you to work safely on the Web without worrying about someone intercepting your data. Read reviews, find the best VPNs to protect your privacy.