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State Department Dispels Cloud Myths with Facts about US Privacy Protections

  WASHINGTON, DC — December 4, 2012

The US State Department today acted to stop the spread of damaging myths about privacy and law enforcement access to personal information in the European Union and the United States, which have needlessly undermined business and consumer trust in international cloud computing services.

The State Department unveiled a resource page on data privacy and a document titled “Five Myths Regarding Privacy and Law Enforcement Access to Personal Information in the European Union and the United States,” which provides facts about common, but misplaced assertions that using cloud services from companies subject to US laws would routinely expose consumer data to seizure by US authorities.

“The State Department has injected a constructive dose of reality into the transatlantic privacy discussion,” said Robert Holleyman, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “Left unchecked, myths about US privacy law would distort the marketplace and stunt the growth of cloud computing services that offer huge social and economic benefits for citizens, consumers, businesses, and governments alike. The truth is America has a strong system of privacy protections — and those protections apply to foreign citizens, not just US citizens.”

In addressing five especially troubling myths about US privacy protections, the State Department provided detailed explanations of these realities:

  • The United States was founded on — and its modern-day laws, regulations, and practices reflect — a core belief in the importance of protecting citizens from government intrusion.
  • Privacy protections limiting U.S. law enforcement access to electronic communications, a key area of modern data privacy concern, are among the highest in the world.
  • In the key area of law enforcement acquisition of electronic communications, the stringent US statutes protecting the privacy of email and voice communications apply equally to foreign nationals and US citizens.
  • The USA Patriot Act did not eliminate the pre-existing, highly protective restrictions on US law enforcement access to electronic communications information in criminal investigations — restrictions that are no less stringent than those found within the European Union.
  • Even before the “cloud” became a popular concept, data was stored remotely and US laws anticipated the need to protect such data.

Click here for a copy of the State Department’s “Five Myths” document. (PDF)

About BSA

BSA |The Software Alliance ( ) is the leading global advocate for the software industry. It is an association of world-class companies that invest billions of dollars annually to create software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. Through international government relations, intellectual property enforcement and educational activities, BSA expands the horizons of the digital world and builds trust and confidence in the new technologies driving it forward.

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About BSA

BSA | The Software Alliance ( is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 60 countries, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.
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