US court orders Microsoft to release data stored offshore

A US district court has ordered Microsoft to hand over the emails and personal information of a customer currently undergoing investigation even though the data is stored offshore in Dublin, Ireland.

In the past, Microsoft had denied such requests for data of US based customers stored outside the country, however, judge James Francis of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, has ruled that warrants for online data are not similar to offline data requests and Microsoft will have to provide the data such as account holder's name, credit card details and email messages sought by US legal bodies.

Microsoft has reaffirmed that it will continue to challenge such data requests and said that, "This is the first step toward getting this issue in front of courts that have the authority to correct the government's longstanding views on the application of search warrants to content stored digitally outside the United States."

Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft, David Howard, has mentioned in a blog post that, "the U.S. government doesn’t have the power to search a home in another country, nor should it have the power to search the content of email stored overseas."

According to the BBC, a new data retention law is currently being drafted by the EU to prevent companies from sharing customers' data with government agencies of other countries unless specified by EU law or special treaties.

Source: BBC 

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30 Comments

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What about Microsoft splitting off into MS US and MS EU :p

can understand that MS gets tired of being in the line of fire because of the US government and its silly practices.

Hello,

One hopes that the judge in question has no problems with making a reciprocal decision, i.e., accepting lawful requests (subpoenas, etc.) from foreign courts for data hosted in the United States.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Or you know...if companies could just act like Mega and use double-blind encryption on all data. The only way to see what the data is, is by a passcode. (Or if they get the NSA to hack it). At least it would be harder to see the contents.

if ms wins this appeal, a money making idea they or any other data company could offer to customers would be like $x/month to store your data on a foreign server.

I sure hope Microsoft won't give in here. A Us district court has no business mandating release of data outside of the US. Regardless if the company in question is a US company.

And with this, the US has officially declared it cannot be trusted. Wasn't it some official body over there that complained about the rest of the world having second thoughts about dealing with american companies? Makes you wonder if they ever check what their judicial system is doing.

Good news, now Russia and China will order Microsoft and Google to release data stored offshore, aka in the US

let the fun begin, let everyone have a copy of our data :)

So, if US ruled that MS has to hand over data stored in an EU country, and then EU passed a law to prohibit MS to do so, what MS will do?

acrodex said,
So, if US ruled that MS has to hand over data stored in an EU country, and then EU passed a law to prohibit MS to do so, what MS will do?

They're between a rock and a hard place, really. If they refuse to hand over the data, they get fined by the US courts. If they hand it over, they get fined by Irish/EU courts.

The solution is, appeal appeal appeal, and try to get the case moved to an international court.

acrodex said,
So, if US ruled that MS has to hand over data stored in an EU country, and then EU passed a law to prohibit MS to do so, what MS will do?

Crawl into a corner and cry why the parent's battle each other

I'm not sure, but likely they would refuse the european law because the US is far more influential in their calculus than the EU. Having said that, such situation is unlikely to happen as the US would certainly except pressure on the EU to let it go.

acrodex said,
So, if US ruled that MS has to hand over data stored in an EU country, and then EU passed a law to prohibit MS to do so, what MS will do?

Data will be stored on the EU server but backed up to a US server ;).

Valid question since the EU is working on passing a law, that data from EU citizens is not allowed to leave EU soil.

neonspark said,
I'm not sure, but likely they would refuse the european law because the US is far more influential in their calculus than the EU. Having said that, such situation is unlikely to happen as the US would certainly except pressure on the EU to let it go.

Thats because MS is blind.
Want to know what made Google so big?
Their focus on the EU market.

EU has a higher BNP, EU spends more on software, games and luxery products.

US has been surpassed the moment Europe started working together.

The EU will welcome the company Microsoft over here including all their servers. why not just leave the americans being American and move everything offshore

will they also pay them for the loss of revenue of the world's #1 single country economy? Last I checked the US market alone where most of their money comes from.

Hmmm.
Bruto National Product in millions of dollars.
EU: 16.984.083
USA: 13.843.825

Would you like to try again? USA hasn't been the country with the most revenue in a while.

neonspark said,
will they also pay them for the loss of revenue of the world's #1 single country economy? Last I checked the US market alone where most of their money comes from.

Shadowzz said,
Hmmm.
Bruto National Product in millions of dollars.
EU: 16.984.083
USA: 13.843.825

Would you like to try again? USA hasn't been the country with the most revenue in a while.


Hey now. Don't break the patriotic american heart!

This ruling hurts american based companies that store data, even if not in the united states due to the governments instance to access the data no matter where it's at.

It will spur companies or governments to develop there own oversee's to develop there own data cloud solution, shields from US snooping eyes.

This also hurts Google, Apple, Amazon as well.

"where it is" and not "where it's at"
The other errors are grammatical and may be dyslexia/dysgraphia-related, and they're unimportant in comparison, so I'm not commenting about that.

I don't see that it matters what physical server it's on, could be in timbucktwo. If this is a US citizen who used a machine here in the US and MS migrated to data to that server, they should be required to migrate it back. It would be quite different if the data originated on that server.

Shadowzz said,
very slippery slope.

It is, from both points of view. On the flip side, what if a company like MS created an algorithm to split up the bits of data and spread it across dozens of countries, so that no country has a readable copy? Would they then be above the law and never required to release data to anyone? You could do it even more simply, what if the data was encrypted and the decryption key was stored overseas? Couldn't they make the same argument that they should not be required to release the decryption key?

Then MS is being very smart and found a loophole. However EU is working on that European data is not allowed to leave our soils :p
Which would kinda prevent that.

But it would surely strengthen MS's position towards Google if they did such

"We care about your privacy, even we do not know where your data is".

James Francis of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, has ruled that warrants for online data are not similar to offline data requests

James Francis, are you mentally incompetent?

In the past, Microsoft had denied such requests for data of US based customers stored outside the country

Not to long ago everyone was hating on Microsoft sharing ALL THEIR DATA with the NSA and American Government.