Judge rules that data stored overseas is still searchable by the US government

A United States federal judge ruled on Thursday that Microsoft must comply with a United States warrant for a customer’s emails and other account information that are being stored in a Microsoft data center in Ireland.

The case has drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies, many of whom have challenged the warrant on the grounds that it improperly extended the authority of federal prosecutors to seize customer information that is being held in foreign countries.

After sitting through a two-hour court hearing in New York, United States District Judge Loretta Preska said that a search warrant that has been approved by a federal magistrate judge required the company to hand over any data that it possessed, regardless of where that data was being stored.

“This is not an extraterritorial application of United States law,” Judge Preska said in agreement with a federal magistrate judge who had previously ruled that Microsoft must comply with the warrant. Judge Preska put her ruling on hold while Microsoft formally files its notice of an appeal. “It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” Preska said.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said Thursday, “The only issue that was certain this morning was that the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process. “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the U.S. and around the world,” he added.

Read more about the story at Computerworld.

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A United States federal judge ruled on Thursday that Microsoft must comply with a United States warrant for a customer’s emails and other account information that are being stored in a Microsoft data center in Ireland. The case has drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies, many of...