The Obama administration thinks online storage isn’t protected by the Constitution
A couple of months ago, Microsoft took the United States government to court over an effort to acquire user data that was being stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland. Microsoft claimed that it had no obligation to hand over information that was being stored overseas to the United States government. From its point-of-view, the enforcement of American laws stops at the American border. The United States government, however, begs to differ.
The Obama administration claims that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to online data the same way it applies to physical data, as per the Stored Communications Act (SCA). “Overseas records must be disclosed domestically when a valid subpoena, order, or warrant compels their production. The disclosure of records under such circumstances has never been considered tantamount to a physical search under Fourth Amendment principles, and Microsoft is mistaken to argue that the SCA provides for an overseas search here. As there is no overseas search or seizure, Microsoft’s reliance on principles of extra-territoriality and comity falls wide of the mark”.
In an age where “fraudsters” and “hackers” use electronic communications in both the United States, and abroad, the Justice Department believes that this law in necessary. Microsoft, on the other hand, believes that there are wide-ranging implications for such a statement, and it’s not alone. Fellow tech giants like Verizon, Apple, and Cisco have come out claiming that his would create “dramatic conflict with foreign data protection laws”. Read more about this story here.