Microsoft is once again challenging the search warrant for customer data stored in another country. This has been an ongoing struggle between the privacy of Microsoft's customers and the legitimacy of U.S. Government authority over data housed in overseas data centers.
Microsoft filed the appeal after it initially lost the challenge against the search warrant which ordered the company to produce the e-mails of a customer stored in one of its data centers in Ireland. The U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, in Manhattan, upheld the federal magistrate's decision requiring the company to turn over e-mails in a drug investigation. In a further ruling, Microsoft was found to be in contempt of court, but a further appeal by Microsoft has prevented any current fines or punishment.
Below is the introduction of Microsofts' latest appeal against the U.S government:
“Imagine this scenario. Officers of the local Stadtpolizei investigating a suspected leak to the press descend on Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. They serve a warrant to seize a bundle of private letters that a New York Times reporter is storing in a safe deposit box at a Deutsche Bank USA branch in Manhattan. The bank complies by ordering the New York branch manager to open the reporter’s box with a master key, rummage through it, and fax the private letters to the Stadtpolizei.”
-- Microsoft v. United States of America
One can imagine how the U.S. government would react if the same situation was reversed and if another country were to demand personal communications of U.S. citizens and bodies. This is exactly what is being pushed by Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Microsoft, in a recent blog posting.
Microsoft is not alone in this matter, as companies like Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and Cisco have voiced their support on the issue. Verizon stated that a ruling favoring the United States would produce "dramatic conflict with foreign data protection laws", while both Apple and Cisco said that the tech sector would be put at risk of being sanctioned by foreign bodies and the U.S. should seek cooperation with nations via treaties.