Apple stands by Microsoft against 'global search warrant' as case moves to Supreme Court

in General Discussion
Microsoft's long-running battle with the Department of Justice over a federal court ruling that could force American companies to hand data about foreign customers over to the U.S. government will soon be heard by the Supreme Court.

Apple was among nearly 300 organizations and individuals who signed fresh amicus briefs in the case, Microsoft's top lawyer Brad Smith announced on Friday. Smith called the wide-ranging coalition "extraordinary."

"Members of Congress took the same position as members of the European Parliament. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce approvingly quoted a statement by the European Commission. Business groups and big companies agreed with consumer and privacy advocates. Faculty from Harvard joined with professors from Princeton. Professors from Duke joined rivals from the University of North Carolina, while those at Berkeley sided with Stanford. And Fox News agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union," he observed.

Microsoft is appealing portions of a warrant issued by U.S. magistrate judge James Francis IV ordering the company to give U.S. authorities access to email data from an Irish customer. That data is held in Ireland, and Microsoft charges that complying with the order would force it to break Irish data protection laws.

Apple has been supporting Microsoft in the fight since 2014. The company, along with networking giant Cisco, was one of the first to sign on.

The Supreme Court is set to take up Microsoft's case next month.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    They'd better uphold this, as it's common sense. The US in general is overbearing when it comes to entitlement. They are not entitled to data stored in another country. Period.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,120member
    This is government over-reach and I hope the SCOTUS sees this.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,901member
    It's surprising that the judge isn't seeing the overreach and legal issues in this case.

    If anyone should see the conflicts and compliance issues for Microsoft, it is him.

    He should also be aware of any options that would permit him to use Irish legal proceedings to get the information he wants.

    If the situation were reversed and an Irish company were required by an Irish judge to reveal information from a US citizen which was stored on US servers, would he not see the data protection issues?
  • Reply 4 of 9
    croprcropr Posts: 943member
    It would damage the interest of all American cloud providers enormously.  Owning a European app company, I would have to stop the subscription of my American cloud providers (mainly Google, but also some parts at Amazon and Microsoft).  The American government must not have access to my company data.
    Moving my company to other European cloud providers is not easy, especially finding a good alternative to the Google Cloud Platform, where  the cloud services for my customer are running in a Kubernetes cluster. But if needed it will move.

    And I am pretty sure that a lot of Europeans thinking in a similar way.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    If the US government compels US companies to break the laws of other nations in which they operate, won't they be obliged to shut down operations in those countries?
  • Reply 6 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,698member
    Not mentioned in this article is that the European Union is also intervening, making sure the SCOTUS is aware of their vested interests in the case and how current laws may affect the final finding. I'm mildly surprised tho that they are not taking either side. I might have expected them to favor Microsoft's position.
    edited January 2018 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 9
    gatorguy said:
    Not mentioned in this article is that the European Union is also intervening,
    The EU's GDPR laws will stop the US dead in its tracks. Fail to comply and your business could be shut down in Europe(worst case scenario)
    The US Government know about the GDPR and are trying to force the likes of MS, IBM, Google, Apple etc to break it.
    As a European I see this move by the USA as bad, bad, and bad.
    The USA would not like it if we tried to enact a similar law in reverse.

  • Reply 8 of 9
    Any sane person would assume that the US is OK with foreign countries reciprocating and accessing the data of US citizens in return but no, this is no different to the "only we can have nukes cos we're 'merica" argument. Team America World Police has never been so factual.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,134member
    So this means the US government would have no issue if China or anyone else wanted Data of a US citizen which that data located here in the US.   You sure as hell cant have it both ways.

    As it typical,  the US is trying to rule the world.  Have it’s fingers in everything and tell other country’s what it wants and better get.

    The bigger government gets, the more corrupt it becomes.

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