US Supreme Court to review Microsoft email privacy case


Microsoft appeared to have been victorious, but the US Supreme Court has now agreed to make a final decision on the matter, following a petition from the US Department of Justice.

Microsoft's legal battle kicked off in 2013, when the Justice Department asked the company to hand over emails stored in its Ireland data center for a drug investigation.

Microsoft has 100 data centers in 40 countries, and its DOJ fight will set a precedent for other tech giants with significant global operations.

"Execution of a USA warrant to seize documents in a foreign country is precisely the kind of foreign incursion that the presumption against extraterritoriality was created to prohibit, absent clear authorization by Congress", Microsoft said.

The review from the Supreme Court will mark a significant step in the case, as it will once again put the issue at the forefront of the news.

The case is United States v. Microsoft, 17-2. Prosecutors sought the emails of a suspect that were stored in a Microsoft data center in Dublin, Ireland.

The justices will review a federal appeals ruling that the Trump administration says has become a major obstacle in criminal probes.

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It contradicts the basic premise that before a USA statute reaches across another country's borders, it should be clear that's what Congress intended when it passed the law.

Microsoft's long-running battle with the United States government over data stored in its Ireland datacentre is set to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Rulings in both cases are due by the end of June.

At issue is whether the emails are beyond the reach of domestic search warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Bloomberg News and the National Law Journal (sub. req.) report. The full circuit then split evenly on whether that decision was correct. Already, Google Inc. and Yahoo, acquired by Verizon Communications Inc., have stopped complying with search warrants for emails and other user data stored outside the country, the Justice Department said.

In 2015, Judge Nicholas Garaufis, of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, ruled that contracts forbidding merchants from steering customers toward other forms of payment were an unlawful restraint of trade. The tech company refused, and in July 2016, an appeals court ruled in its favor, concluding that the Stored Communications Act did not apply to the communications stored overseas.

A coalition of 33 US states and Puerto Rico backed the Justice Department's appeal. In 2012, the court held that a warrant is required to place a Global Positioning System tracking device on a vehicle.