Now, the New York Times is reporting that Microsoft is fighting back against a federal prosecutor who ordered Microsoft to reveal a customer’s email stored on a server in Ireland.
The objection is believed to be the first time a corporation has challenged a domestic search warrant seeking digital information overseas. The case has attracted the concern of privacy groups and major United States technology companies, which are already under pressure from foreign governments worried that the personal data of their citizens is not adequately protected in the data centers of American companies.
Verizon filed a brief on Tuesday, echoing Microsoft’s objections, and more corporations are expected to join. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is working on a brief supporting Microsoft. European officials have expressed alarm.
In a court filing made public on Monday, Microsoft said that if the judicial order to surrender the email stored abroad is upheld, it “would violate international law and treaties, and reduce the privacy protection of everyone on the planet.”
This is a real change in behavior. If all the large tech companies aggressively protect the right to privacy of their users it could go a long way to countering at least portions of the modern surveillance state. Kudos to Microsoft, Verizon and the EFF.
- Microsoft vs US govt: legal battle tests fate of US cloud companies overseas (siliconrepublic.com)
- Microsoft fights US warrants for overseas servers (m.washingtonpost.com)
- Microsoft Stands Up To FBI Over Customer Data (forbes.com)
- Electronic Frontier Foundation Awards 6/6 Stars For Microsoft On Privacy Approach To Government Data Access (microsoft-news.com)