US Supreme Court Keeps Microsoft Ireland Email Case Alive

Supreme Court to rule if Microsoft must turn over emails stored overseas

Supreme Court to rule if Microsoft must turn over emails stored overseas

They don't believe that laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act were meant to reach beyond American borders, and that this creates conflicts with privacy laws in Europe and other corners of the world.

The case involved information stored on a Microsoft server in Ireland that the USA government believed it should have access to under warrants issued in the US. "Hundreds if not thousands of investigations of crimes-ranging from terrorism, to child pornography, to fraud-are being or will be hampered by the government's inability to obtain electronic evidence", the government argued. The court will hear arguments early next year and rule by June. In a new step, today, it was announced that the US Supreme Court will hear the Microsoft's Irish email access case as part of a review of Microsoft's recent victory.

United States authorities strongly criticized Microsoft's refusal, arguing "hundreds if not thousands of investigations. will be hampered".

The appeals court ruled that current USA law does not give judges the right to issue search warrants that reach outside the U.S.

The U.S. government had sought the emails in a drug trafficking investigation. Officials obtained a search warrant, but Microsoft refused to turn over the information, taking the matter to court instead. He urged Congress to pass the International Communications Privacy Act to update the outdated ECPA.

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Microsoft says its policy at the time of the search warrant was to store email content in the data center nearest to the customer's self-declared country of residence, while keeping account information on USA servers.

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reverse the lower courts.

A coalition of 33 USA states and Puerto Rico backed the Justice Department's appeal.

Microsoft points to past Supreme Court cases that say laws shouldn't be read to intrude on another country's sovereignty unless Congress clearly says that's its intent. And if the U.S. can use a warrant to take any data so long as it's held by an American company, doesn't that invite foreign governments to do the same thing? His lawyers said that because the United States was not engaged in "hostilities" with al Qaeda, the militant Islamist group that carried out the bombing, at the time of the attack, his acts were not crimes of war.

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