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When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FISAA) was extended for another 5 years thanks to a majority vote in the U.S. Senate late last year, there weren't many Europeans who took notice and were worried about the fact.
Setting aside the also poorly-known fact that the U.S. Patriot Act effectively allows U.S. authorities to access cloud data belonging to Europeans and stored in European Union datacenters, it's bad news that the newly renewed FISAA can also be used in a similar way.
Under the Act in question, all the data stored in U.S. cloud services - including, of course, that of giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft - by non-American could be accessed by U.S. agencies if the companies in question have a presence in the EU - and most, if not all, do.
To do this, the U.S. authorities need only get a secret court to issue a secret surveillance order, and hand it over to the companies. Bound by U.S. law, the companies are and will be forced to comply.
One of the main problems with FISAA is that it allows surveillance of real-time communications and cloud data of individuals and organizations that are not suspected of any crime - just political activity. According to Caspar Bowden, one of the study's co-authors, that might result in the monitoring of European politicians, activists, and even journalist involved in political issues important to the U.S.
While the U.S. was quick to assure that such things will never be able to happen, many European politicians are still skeptical.