Category Archives: Technology

Collins Praises Inclusion of CLOUD Act in Funding Package

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who introduced the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in the House this February, released the following statement in response to its inclusion in the newly released funding bill:

“The CLOUD Act frames a path for guarding the privacy of American data while enabling law enforcement to combat crime and terrorism in the digital age, and I welcome the inclusion of this thoughtful solution in a bill that also brings crucial funding to our troops. The 21st-century never fails to bring us new challenges, and it’s the job of Congress—not the courts—to deliver balanced updates like the CLOUD Act to our statutes.”

Collins introduced the bill with a bipartisan group of lawmakers including lead cosponsor Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and cosponsors Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.). Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) led the introduction of the CLOUD Act in the Senate.

The legislation would better balance the interests of cloud users while incentivizing bilateral agreements for law enforcement to fight crime.

Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act of 2018 Pillars:

  • Bilateral Agreements: The CLOUD Act enables the United States to enter into formal agreements with other nations to set clear standards for cross-border investigative requests for digital evidence. The CLOUD Act further identifies a series of statutory requirements that these agreements must satisfy, including privacy and security protections.
  • Extraterritoriality of U.S. Warrants and International Comity: The CLOUD Act amends U.S. law to make clear that U.S. warrants and other legal process issued for data held by communications providers reach data stored anywhere in the world. The reach of U.S. warrants and legal process, however, would be limited by international comity. The CLOUD Act would give providers, for the first time, a statutory right to challenge legal process based on international comity concerns.
  • Transparency: When a communications provider receives a request from U.S. law enforcement related to a national or resident of a country that has entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States, the provider will be permitted to notify that government of the existence of the request. This will allow the foreign government to assess compliance with the terms of the bilateral agreement and enable it to intervene diplomatically if it believes the request is inappropriate.

Reciprocity: The CLOUD Act would also require participating countries to remove legal restrictions that prevent compliance with data requests from U.S. law enforcement. To qualify for the statutory benefits of the legislation (removal of the U.S. blocking statute, a right for providers to object based on international comity and a right for providers to notify the government of the existence of requests), a foreign government must provide reciprocal rights and benefits to U.S. law enforcement and communications providers.

Georgia Senate Passes the BILD Act and the FIBRE Act to Expand Broadband Access in Rural Georgia

Two broadband expansion bills sponsored by Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega), Senate Bills 232 and 426, passed the Senate on Crossover Day, Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Each bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“Thank you to my colleagues in the Senate for joining me in support of these broadband expansion bills,” said Sen. Gooch. “We have been working on these bills for a long time, and I am proud of our Chamber for taking action. Expanding broadband access has long been a top priority of the Senate, and we have taken another step toward providing rural Georgians with the services they need for economic development, telehealth, education and quality of life.”

Senate Bill 232, also known as the Facilitating Internet Broadband Expansion (FIBRE) Act, allows Georgia’s 41 electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) to deploy broadband, wireless and VoIP services to rural Georgia. The bill also sets the regulations for EMCs seeking to provide these services with a goal of creating a competitive marketplace for broadband expansion into rural areas.

Senate Bill 426, or the Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act, streamlines the permitting and deployment of a new wireless technology known as 5g – or small cell broadband – for private companies wishing to utilize public rights of way. In addition, the bill also permits the construction of small wireless technology poles on certain existing structures and allows for construction of new utility poles in areas lacking current infrastructure, while protecting historic districts.

Expanding Broadband Access Takes Another Step in the Right Direction

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

The pace during our seventh week picked up yet again, as Crossover Day is nearly here. There was movement on several of my bills this week, and I had the chance to welcome some honored guests.

I am very happy to announce that Senate Bill 402, the Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act, passed the Senate unanimously with bi-partisan support on Friday. This bill is a major step toward bringing broadband access to unserved and underserved areas across rural Georgia by laying the groundwork for private investment and public-private partnerships. SB 402 provides jurisdiction to the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) to evaluate local communities across the state and create plans to implement broadband projects. The bill also contains incentives for local communities, such as a new community designation, which will be called “broadband ready.” A broadband ready community will obtain this new designation through the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and it will allow them to qualify for grant programs. This will minimize hurdles in the permitting process and enable the opportunity for a tax exemption if the community’s population is below 50,000 or is 40 percent unserved. In addition to the local benefits contained in SB 402, it also increases coordination among DCA, GTA and the Georgia Department of Transportation, allowing agencies to expand fiber optic cabling through the use of existing infrastructure.

Two other bills I sponsored that also relate to the expansion of broadband in rural Georgia took a step in the right direction this week, as they were passed out of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. After several days of hearings, receiving input from local communities, private companies and key stakeholders, SB 232, the Facilitating Internet Broadband Expansion (FIBRE) Act and SB 426, the Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act, are now one step closer to being heard and voted upon by the full Senate. SB 232 expands access to public rights of way and sets regulations for Georgia’s electric membership cooperatives. SB 426 relates to local governments and their ability to place regulations, fees and taxes on private companies seeking to use the public rights of way to expand broadband access. I look forward to having both of these bills up for a vote on the Senate Floor next week.

In addition to broadband is another bill I sponsored that passed out of committee this week, SB 425. The bill revises the code by adding a new classification of land surveyor. The new classification will require fewer qualifications and is being done in an effort to attract more individuals to the profession. Current law for qualification sets a very high standard and this has limited opportunities for those interested in becoming land surveyors. In addition, the high standard has also placed a burden on local governments seeking their services. SB 425 aims to resolve each of these issues.

This week, I was also given the distinct honor of welcoming some of Dawsonville’s finest to the Senate – NASCAR legends Bill and Chase Elliott. Additionally, I was happy to spend time with Youth Leadership Dawson when they visited the Capitol.

While week seven was full of action, we still have a long way to go in 2018. If you have any concerns, comments or questions regarding my bills, or any legislation facing the Senate, please feel free to contact me. It is a pleasure to serve as your Senator, and I look forward to keeping you updated as the session progresses.