US Federal Courts had recently ruled that the U.S government cannot force Microsoft Corp and other technology companies to hand over customer emails which are stored on servers situated outside the States. This was considered as a landmark decision and was lauded by privacy activists. However, this decision was once again challenged and the federal courts have once again stood their grounds and refused to reconsider the decision.
This Tuesday the 4-4 vote by the 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhatten gave a new lease to the July 14 decision and this was no less than a victory for privacy advocates and other related technology companies which have been known for their cloud services and a part of their infrastructure is situated out of U.S soil. It was in July that Circuit Judge Susan ruled that Microsoft cannot be forced to turn out the emails which were sought by the authorities and was stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland.
Despite the fact that Microsoft was based out of Washington State Carney said that the emails lie beyond the scope of domestic search warrants issues under the federal Stored Communications Act. Apparently, Microsoft was the first one to challenge the warrant and since it concerned the technology fraternity as whole the case immediately garnered quite a lot of interest.
Many technology companies including Amazon.com, Apple, CNN, Fox News Network and Verizon Communications and also U.S Chamber of Commerce.
However, the dissenters argued that it doesn’t matter where the emails were stored since Microsoft was a US Company and it further claimed that this will “create a roadmap for the facilitation of criminal activity and impeded programs to protect the national security of the United States and its allies.” The law was put forth and passed in 1986 and may be amended to suit the needs accordingly.