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The Microsoft office in Moscow. Photo Mikhail Tereshchenko\TASS via Getty Images

The funding bill released Wednesday includes the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data [CLOUD] Act, which provides a legal framework for law enforcement to request data from overseas servers. The CLOUD Act currently sits high atop the wish list of tech firms, law enforcement and even foreign nations.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court is currently mulling a case determining whether the Department of Justice had the right to force Microsoft to produce client emails stored on a server in Ireland without permission from Ireland's government.

  • Microsoft fears the DOJ will force it to violate the laws of Ireland.
  • The DOJ hopes to avoid the often years long process of abiding by treaties dealing with evidence.
  • But both have publicly urged lawmakers to render the pending decision moot by passing the CLOUD act, a way to streamline the treaty process for requesting digital data.

The details: The CLOUD Act provides a framework for reciprocal treaties for nations to request data from computers located within each other's borders. It also provides a mechanism for a Microsoft to take a law enforcement demand to court if it would force them to violate another country's rules. But when neither apply, law enforcement will be able to demand files in accordance with U.S. law.

What they're saying:

  • " The inclusion of the CLOUD Act in Omnibus funding bill negotiated by Congressional leaders of both parties is a critical step forward in resolving issue that has been the subject of litigation for over four years," wrote Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in a tweeted statement.
  • "The CLOUD Act will create a clear, balanced framework for law enforcement to access data stored in other countries while at the same time encouraging our allies to strengthen their domestic privacy laws," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in a statement, who spearheaded the CLOUD act and earlier proposed legislation on this issue.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”