Microsoft ordered to hand over data not stored in the US, plans to appeal

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After a year of revelations, many of which came from Edward Snowden, we perhaps thought that things could not get worse. Enter the US court system. Despite storing data overseas, it seems a judge still thinks it is fair game, and that is what has just happened to Microsoft.

The company, which initially refused to hand over this information, has found support from unlikely allies including both Apple, Verizon, AT&T, and, not surprisingly, the EFF.

The battle began with a warrant issued back in June, but the software giant refused to comply. After all, a law service can’t seize data held on foreign turf. But apparently that is changing as it has been ruled fair game, despite that it resides in Ireland.

“It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information”, stated a district court judge, Loretta Preska. The ruling is not a done deal. Microsoft counsel Brad Smith has informed sources the company will appeal the verdict.

It’s certainly a setback, though not the end of all of this. While none of us wishes law enforcement the inability to get data that could stop a terrorist attack, we also do not want innocent people’s information being seized at random, though that apparently is being collected regardless of those wishes. We shall see where this all leads.