Privacy Case against Microsoft Gets Dismissed by Supreme Court
Cernescu Andrei / 2 years ago
Microsoft has been fighting the Justice Department since 2013.
However, it looks like the US Supreme Court has decided to dismiss this very old case. The case focused on whether the government can actually force tech companies to deliver data stored on their oversea servers. We all know that this is a touchy subject. Moreover, we’ve seen quite a few other companies clashing with the authorities over user data.
This particular case concerned a drug trafficking investigation. Even though Federal Agents managed to obtain a warrant that asked Microsoft to hand over the information, the company refused. Since Microsoft stored that data on an Irish server, US and Irish authorities were supposed to come to a mutual arrangement in order to secure access. This was Microsoft’s reasoning at the time.
Congress had to pass new legislation on the matter.
As such, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act now required companies to provide information requested by law enforcement. The data needs to be delivered even if it was stored outside of the United States. Microsoft actually supported the act alongside other giants such as Facebook, Google, and Apple. Apparently, the companies are more than willing to deliver data if it will help with an ongoing investigation.
The problem was the lack of clear legislation on the matter. Shortly after the signing of the Cloud Act, the Justice Department obtained a new search warrant. Microsoft complied with the requests and turned over the emails with no objections.
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith had a few words to say on the matter:
“Our goal has always been a new law and international agreements with strong privacy protections that govern how law enforcement gathers digital evidence across borders. As the governments of the UK and Australia have recognized, the CLOUD Act encourages these types of agreements, and we urge the US government to move quickly to negotiate them.”
In light of the Cloud Act, the conflict between Microsoft and the Justice Department has come to an end. That’s good news for everyone, right?