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Microsoft Appeals against US Demands for Cloud Data Stored in Ireland

Microsoft has launched an appeal in a US courtroom after refusing to provide the US with Cloud Data stored in Ireland because of a warrant that exists in the US.

This appeal has been launch in conjunction with a ruling Judge Francis gave in April 2014 stating that the Government shouldn’t have to arrange a fresh warrant each time it requires data. Francis commented that “the burden on the government would be substantial, and law enforcement efforts would be seriously impeded if warrants for data did not cover this information”.

Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel David Howard replied saying “the US government doesn’t have the power to search a home in another country, nor should it have the power to search the content of email stored overseas.” He went on to add that “even when applied to information that is stored in servers abroad, an SCA [Stored Communications Act] warrant does not violate the presumption against extraterritorial application of American law.”

Microsoft cloud data

The technology company Microsoft considers that whilst it will comply with any lawful requests, it will not comply when the data is stored overseas such as the Cloud Data stored in Ireland. Through a blog post on their website, they comment that “the government puts at risk the fundamental privacy rights Americans have valued since the founding of the postal service. This is because it argues that, unlike your letters in the mail, emails you store in the cloud cease to belong exclusively to you, instead, according to the government, your emails become the business records of a cloud provider”. They went on to add that “because business records have a lower level of legal protection, the government claims it can use a different and broader legal authority to reach emails stored anywhere in the world.”

As the Cloud Data stored in Ireland is in question, the Irish Government has raised concerns about the US and their ‘objectionable’ attempts to seize the data. The Minister for data protection Dara Murphy said that should the data be handed over, it could “create significant legal uncertainty for Irish and EU consumers and companies regarding the protection of their data, which, in this digital age, is everyone’s most valuable asset”.


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