Microsoft has to hand over data gathered in EU to US government

According to US District Judge Loretta Preska in New York the warrant lawfully required the company to hand over any data it controlled, so that Microsoft has to provide foreign data over to the US government regardless of where it was stored.

As you know, big companies like Microsoft or Google have their data centers established on every continent. This particular case concerns Microsoft’s European data center located in Ireland, meaning that any data gathered should fall under the purview of Irish and European data protection laws.

Initially, Microsoft challenged the order, saying that local laws must apply in respect of each jurisdiction, however it was quickly countered by the Judge.

“It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information” Preska said. The judge also said she would temporarily suspend her order from taking effect in order to allow Microsoft to appeal to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a statement, Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith said:

“We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the U.S. and around the world.”

If Microsoft loses the case, it will mean that other US companies are not immune from having their data handed over to the US government for law enforcement or intelligence purposes.

This might lead to an interesting situation, because following this line of reasoning, other countries would be able to seek US-based data using warrants issued in their own countries.

Posted in Privacy.
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