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By Vlad Dudau
Supreme Court bolsters Microsoft's case for privacy against US government
by Vlad Dudau
Back in 2014, a US court ordered Microsoft to hand over the e-mail and user data of someone the government had an interest in. The company complied but soon reached an impasse when some of the data was found to be stored in Ireland and Microsoft refused to bring that data over to the US. Since then, the US government and Microsoft have been hashing it out in court, with the government saying its laws and judicial demands apply everywhere around the world and Microsoft should comply.
Now, a new decision reached by the US Supreme Court, in an unrelated case, seems to bolster Microsoft’s stance against the extraterritoriality of US laws. As reported by PCWorld, the SCOTUS ruled that US laws do not apply overseas unless Congress explicitly states so in the law’s body.
Microsoft, which has previously been found in contempt of court for not complying with the US government, was quick to capitalize on this decision by the Supreme Court, and point out that the Electronics Communications Privacy Act, which is being used by the government against the company, does not apply outside of US borders.
The company has also repeatedly argued that the US government should pursue existing legal avenues to access the data it wants, such as going through the EU mechanisms for law enforcement and data transfer. The government has argued that following the law and international conventions would take too much time, despite Ireland’s government coming out in support of Microsoft and even offering to speed up evaluation of any request that the US government would make in this case.
The case between Microsoft and US government is moving very slowly, and will likely take a number of years to resolve, but its outcome is seen as a crucial precedent. If the US government manages to impose its legal framework over companies and data stored in other countries, this could have a chilling effect over the industry and continue to strain relations between the US and the rest of the world.
Source: PCWorld | Original gavel image by Brian Turner
By Vlad Dudau
Supreme Court of the US allows the FBI to hack millions of devices with just one warrant
by Vlad Dudau
Image via 3Dprint Just as the United States’ Congress has approved a law to better protect civil liberties by limiting the government’s ability to access people’s e-mails, the country’s supreme court has come out with a decision that significantly expands the FBI’s hacking power.
The US Supreme Court just announced that it had decided in favor of a rule change, allowing judges to issue search warrants, not only for computers located in their jurisdiction but in any jurisdiction. The new rules have been transmitted to Congress, which is expected to promulgate them without modifications.
Critics, including privacy advocacy groups and technology companies like Google, argue that this change vastly expands the FBI’s and other domestic agencies’ powers and allow them to hack into any computer networks on the basis of a single warrant. This goes against people’s right against unlawful search and seizure guaranteed by the Constitution, according to privacy groups.
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is another critic of the SCOTUS decision and has vowed to introduce legislation to reverse it. He explained:
The Justice Department denies this is the case though and tried to minimize the Supreme Court’s decision, calling it a minor modification and claiming that the changes don’t authorize anything not permitted by law already.
It’s clear this debate will not be settled with this current decision, especially as more and more of our lives are taking place online and as governments around the world try to get a stronger and stronger hold on the internet.
Aereo to suspend service at 11:30 EST today
On the heels of its Supreme Court loss, Aereo has announced it will suspend service starting today at 11:30am, Eastern Standard Time. CEO Chet Kanojia announced the suspension in a letter to customers this morning, saying the service would be temporarily paused as the company consults with the court on possible next steps. All users will also receive a refund for their last paid month of service.
Kanoijia maintained his fundamental disagreement with the ruling, saying, "the spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud." Kanojia had said the company would "continue to fight for our customers," but most observers believe it will be untenable for the company to after losing such a central court battle. Via: http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/28/5852116/aereo-to-suspend-service-at-11-30-est-today Source: http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/assets/4682463/Screen_Shot_2014-06-28_at_9.23.10_AM.png