Trump-era data grabs pose a threat to global negotiations

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Recent revelations about Trump-era data grabs by federal authorities have put the US in a tricky spot as it competes with China to lead the digital age. As the Trump Justice Department pursued leaks and critics in Congress, the media and the White House itself, it obtained court orders to scoop up data from Apple, Microsoft and other tech providers. Then courts put the companies under gag orders that blocked them from warning their customers they'd been targeted, or even revealing the existence of the gag orders themselves. These Trump-era gag orders continued a long tradition of the US government simultaneously grabbing data from tech companies and demanding their silence, dating back to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. However, the frequency and possible partisan motivation of the data grabs and gag orders could undercut US leverage as it rallies allies to oppose China and negotiates a new agreement with Europe on data sharing and storage.

The feds' dangerous data-grab game