Microsoft Balks At Court Order To Disclose Emails Stored Overseas

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The United States government wants Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to disclose emails stored in Dublin and the tech giant is not happy about it. The computer brand’s primary concern is that it could scare customers away from its cloud and data services.

Microsoft’s battle for privacy

Fortunately for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), at least one other  telecommunications giant is vouching on their behalf. Verizon Communications filed a brief yesterday that supported Microsoft. Other companies will likely follow suit soon.

The redacted filing from the U.S. District Court of Southern District in New York shows Microsoft’s objection to the warrant which allows the United States government to search any or all Microsoft’s facilities throughout the world. Microsoft claims private email conversations are held inside a server in Dublin and Congress does not have the authority to issue warrants outside United States territory.

Judge James C. Francis IV (U.S. Magistrate of New York) refused to cancel a December warrant which allowed search and seizure of valuable information. Such information included content and identifiers.

Why Microsoft initially complied

The PC maker initially complied with the search warrant as it provided non-content information which was held inside U.S. severs. When it was determined the account and content was actually hosted in Dublin, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) then filed to squash the warrant. However, if territorial restrictions on conventional warrants apply to warrants under section 2703 of the Stored Communications Act, there would be a substantial burden on the government. Law enforcement would also be impeded.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is also concerned with surveillance programs and has been demanding reform. Brad Smith (General Counsel for Microsoft) wrote about the company’s concerns regarding government warrants which force companies to disclose communication content from customers who don’t reside in the U.S. and are stored outside the country. In the New York filing, Microsoft also said the company has met with others who expressed concerns over the U.S. government’s access to information outside the country.

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