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US court requires disclosure of overseas data: Microsoft lose latest round of litigation

15 August 2014

Microsoft has been ordered by a US judge to release information on individuals held on Irish servers owned by Microsoft Netherlands. In a heavily protested ruling, a US District Court upheld a US Magistrate decision denying an order sought by Microsoft to quash a search warrant executed under the US Stored Communications Act.

Microsoft argued the warrant could not extend beyond US shores and was in breach of Irish and European data protection laws. The judge held the issue was not one of location but rather control.

In a blog commenting on the initial decision Microsoft’s Corporate VP and Deputy General Counsel stated “The U.S. 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.”

Commentators believe US companies are worried that the order could cost billions in foreign revenue if people believe their data is subject to US federal scrutiny.

Microsoft plan to appeal, the outcome of which could have worldwide implications for data protection protocols.

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