Microsoft wins Apple-aligned case against U.S. over warrant for foreign emails

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in iCloud
A U.S. Federal Court has ruled in Microsoft's favor in a closely-watch case involving a warrant the government obtained for a customer's emails stored on an Irish server. The ruling frees U.S. companies from being forced to hand over customer data if it's not being stored within the U.S.




According to a report by Kate Conger for TechCrunch, Microsoft has been fighting a New York district court's order since 2013, concerning a warrant issued for an individual's emails and other information stored by the company.

Microsoft had provided the government with metadata and other "non-content" information about its customer after a district court judge issued the warrant. However, the company argued that the content of the emails in question were not subject to seizure because the warrant did not have any jurisdiction over data stored in Ireland.

A federal magistrate judge again demanded that Microsoft produce the emails in 2013, but the company brought its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit, which includes New York.Apple supported Microsoft's position in an amicus brief to the court

Apple supported Microsoft's position in an amicus brief to the court also supported by other tech firms including Cisco, Verizon and AT&T, civil liberties groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union, and media organizations including CNN and the Washington Post.




Apple and Cisco jointly argued that upholding the warrant would place them and their employees at risk of foreign sanctions and could spur reciprocal legal actions on the part of international courts, putting the data of U.S. citizens in play.

Ireland also backed Microsoft, arguing that "foreign courts are obliged to respect Irish sovereignty."

Following the favorable verdict on appeal, Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief legal officer, said in a statement that the case "makes clear that the U.S. Congress did not give the U.S. Government the authority to use search warrants unilaterally to reach beyond U.S. borders.

"As a global company we've long recognized that if people around the world are to trust the technology they use, they need to have confidence that their personal information will be protected by the laws of their own country."

Apple has similarly resisted efforts by governments in the U.S., U.K. and China to demand its proprietary code and/or compel the company to introduce backdoors in its encryption or otherwise weaken the security of its products for the purpose of investigating suspects, conducting mass surveillance or weeding out opposition groups.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Fuck the federal government. They need to be beaten back to pre-civil war levels of power.
    edited July 2016 lord amhranrevenantcyberzombieicoco3buzdots
  • Reply 2 of 9
    kamiltonkamilton Posts: 259member
    Booyah!
  • Reply 3 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,840member
    Good for Microsoft. Good for everyone.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    this is good news. I'm glad Microsoft is taking steps to protect privacy
    dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 9
    I wonder if the Irish/EU v. Apple tax probe had any weight in this decision...
  • Reply 6 of 9
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,981member
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Fuck the federal government. They need to be beaten back to pre-civil war levels of power.
    In some ways yes. In other ways, the federal government has become utterly impotent, or even an outright tool wielded by corporations seeking to consume and destroy, and then be rescued from the consequences of their own stupidity and greed. It's not black and white as you're characterizing it. 
    propodnolamacguy
  • Reply 7 of 9
    croprcropr Posts: 914member
    This is great news. As a European I can now consider to use cloud services from American companies with a European data center.
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 8 of 9
    davidwdavidw Posts: 950member
    cropr said:
    This is great news. As a European I can now consider to use cloud services from American companies with a European data center.
    But only if the laws protecting your data is stronger in the US than the country you're in. No use storing your data in the US when the US will more readily give up your data to law enforcement than if the data were in a server in your own country.
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 9 of 9
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,479member

    This just another example how the government does something knowing full well it is illegal or unconstitutional but go ahead and do it and when the courts through it out they legislators and legal system blames courts being too liberal and companies manipulating the system.

    You can bet the prosecution in this case is going to say they tried to do their job by the courts are preventing them. If you look at the judge who was ordering MS to turn over the files is an elected judge and he is more worry about getting reelected. 

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