Home > Copyright Protection / DCMA, Privacy Laws > Microsoft vs NY Court’s data request. A turning point for privacy?

Microsoft vs NY Court’s data request. A turning point for privacy?

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An interesting case brewing courtesy of Microsoft and the Southern District court of NY reported by The Register this week

Here, we have a court order from NY requesting Microsoft produce some emails from a server physically located in Ireland, and managed by a local Irish Microsoft subsidiary.

While there is long standing and well understood that company records stored oversees must be delivered on demand, for example Microsofts financial records across the world would have to be delivered to a court requesting such, the law is a little less clear when it comes to data not strictly owned by a company, yet managed by it. 

In this particialr case, Microsoft are arguing that the emails are owned by the individual themselves, and thus Microsoft Ireland cannot be required to deliver them on the request of a USA state court.

They however have not said they are unwilling to do so – Microsoft are simply demanding that due process requires the request to be made in jurisdiction, ie by an Irish court.

I’m interested to see how this pans out – personally I wish the Microsoft legal team could just stand up in front of the NY Judge and say “It’s not our data, it’s not in the USA, you have no right to request such of us”, but of course, our legal system requires Microsoft to pay to defend themselves..

If they lose of course, there’s a precedent which implies that ANY data stored by a USA domiciled company can be requested by a USA based court.

That would be big news for Amazon, Google, and everyone who specializes in data storage. It would also be interesting to see how non-USA based companies react when they realize that their data stored with USA third parties could be obtained on demand, even if it’s not in the USA. Think about cohosted data centers etc..

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