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14 Aug 2015

Rebekah Mintzer, Microsoft, on Corporate Counsel (USA)

NGO raises privacy fears ahead of US appeals court decision expected to require Microsoft to hand over emails on its Irish server

"Microsoft's Ireland case stirs fears about the future of the cloud", Aug 2015 [subscription required]

Widespread adoption of cloud computing has been a game changer for many businesses. However, the high-profile data privacy case that pits Microsoft Corp. against the U.S. Department of Justice may be a prelude to stormy weather. The case, which will be argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Sept. 9, could determine whether the U.S. government has the power to seize the personal data of a company's clients—even when that data resides overseas…Microsoft v. United States…began…[i]n December 2013, [when] the DOJ, which declined to comment for this story, issued a warrant to access email communications of an unnamed user of Microsoft's MSN e-mail service in order to investigate drug trafficking. The user's email records were stored on a Microsoft server in Dublin, but instead of seeking access to the emails through the government's mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) with Ireland, the DOJ ordered Microsoft to copy the records and turn them over. The company refused, and in the ensuing litigation lost before a federal magistrate judge and in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York…Supporters of Microsoft's stance, such as Alex Abdo, staff attorney at the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, are concerned that the court's position could lead to mass data collection...Whatever the specifics look like, Microsoft believes that to accommodate the exponentially growing amount of information stored in the cloud, new rules need to be well-balanced…