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Microsoft gets Boost in Privacy Case against US Government

A recent US Supreme Court ruling has bolstered Microsoft’s position in a privacy case against the US government regarding the handing over of overseas data.


made waves earlier this year when the company refused to hand over user data from the San Bernardino terrorist to the FBI. has had its own similar experience where the company has had to deny a government request for private data.

In 2014, Microsoft initially complied with a government request for user data but then refused to release the data when the company found it was stored in Ireland. The government and Redmond have been thrashing it out in court since, with authorities insisting governmental judicial demands are valid all over the world.

Microsoft disagrees and a result from another case could have wider consequences and help Microsoft cause in the case against the government. The company's position on extraterritoriality of judicial requests has been bolstered by a US Supreme Court decision that states clearly that US laws are not applicable in other countries.

PCWorld reports that SCOTUS unless Congress makes amendments to the law's body, then US laws do not apply overseas.

In its case with the government, Microsoft has been found in contempt of court and the fight has rumbled on for two years. The company is naturally jumping on the new ruling and saying the government has no right to force the company to hand over data from another country.

The Electronics Communications Privacy Act means the government can make requests in the US, but the law is not applicable outside of the country. Microsoft has not refused outright to hand over the Irish held data but merely insisted that the US government should use legal channels such as going through the EU and local lawmakers in Europe.

Ireland has agreed to help support the speedy release of the data if the US went through official channels, but the government says it would take too long. Ironically the case has been going for two years and will likely continue for several years to come.

Microsoft has spoken about the dangers of losing this case. The company says it will create a major precedent where the government can make legal requests to access any data anywhere in the world.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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