Microsoft fights back against US cloud data ruling

Cloud storage in the cloud

Microsoft is still trying to hold off data requests from the US government for email data stored on its servers in Ireland.

Microsoft was told it had to hand the data over in April after a judge said US laws applied to data stored overseas if held by a US firm.

Judge Francis said in his ruling at the time that the government should not have to arrange a fresh warrant every time it wants data.

“The burden on the government would be substantial, and law enforcement efforts would be seriously impeded if warrants for data did not cover this information,” he said.

At the time Microsoft said it was disappointed, with deputy general counsel David Howard saying, “The US government doesn’t have the power to search a home in another country, nor should it have the power to search the content of email stored overseas.”

“Even when applied to information that is stored in servers abroad, an SCA [Stored Communications Act] warrant does not violate the presumption against extraterritorial application of American law.”

Microsoft is now challenging the ruling in a court order filed in New York, in which it claims the original decision was in breach of existing laws.

“The government takes the extraordinary position that by merely serving such a warrant on any US-based email provider, it has the right to obtain the private emails of any subscriber, no matter where in the world the data may be located and without the knowledge of the subscriber or the relevant foreign government where the data is stored,” it said.

“This interpretation not only rewrites the statute, it would also authorise the government to violate the territorial integrity of sovereign nations.”

Microsoft said in a statement to V3 that it was fighting the decision on behalf of it customers who should be subject to the whims of the US government if they are not based within the nation.

“We’re continuing to challenge this search warrant in the courts as promised on behalf of our customers who expect and deserve basic privacy rights,” it said.

“The US government can’t execute a search warrant in other countries, and we don’t believe it has the authority to ask Microsoft to do what it can’t.”

The outcome of the legal scrap is likely to garner much interest around the world as it could have major implications on the cloud market and pose questions about the wisdom of using US cloud providers to store important data.

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11 June 2014 | 3:15 pm – Source: v3.co.uk
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