Monday, December 15, 2014

Apple supports Microsoft in data privacy fight against U.S. government

“Some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Inc., voiced support for Microsoft Corp. in a data-privacy dispute between the software maker and the U.S. government,” Kelly Gilblom and Dina Bass report for Bloomberg News. “Companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Verizon Communications Inc. and EBay Inc., as well as business and advocacy groups and computer science professors, plan to file 10 amicus briefs with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to bolster Microsoft’s position in a legal fight against the government, the Redmond, Washington-based company said today.”

Source: Microsoft
Microsoft is arguing against a U.S. government request to release emails currently stored on servers outside the country. According to court filings, Microsoft was issued a search warrant relating to a drug investigation last year, compelling the company hand over customer data from an Outlook email account located in Ireland. 

 Instead of complying, Microsoft appealed to keep the data private as it resides only on a server in Dublin. As such, U.S. government agencies do not have jurisdiction and should be required to go through international channels, the company argues.

 At issue is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which allows federal and local law enforcement agencies to demand digital records, such as email correspondence, with appropriately served warrants. Microsoft argues Congress did not include stipulations in ECPA that would allow seizures outside the U.S.

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