Microsoft cloud case goes to appeal

cloudAn important case which could decide some important laws about the cloud is about to kick off in the US.

Software giant Microsoft is appealing a decision that forces it to hand over data stored overseas to US investigators.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Microsoft’s challenge to a July 2014 lower court ruling concluding that a court or law enforcement agency in the United States is empowered to order a person or entity to produce materials, even if the information is housed outside the country.

Microsoft wants the appeals court to overturn the decision upholding the US government’s right to search a consumer email account that Microsoft stores in Dublin  as part of a narcotics investigation.

Manhattan prosecutors claim that “powerful government interests” override potential negative effects on Microsoft’s business or any other company seeking to profit on the storage of information overseas.

Any US cloud company would suffer if the US was allowed access to foreign data.  In fact the EU would probably rule that it is too dangerous to allow data to be stored in clouds administered by US companies.

In a filing in the appeal, the government of Ireland noted that the Irish Supreme Court has ruled that Irish courts have the power to order production of documents by an Irish registered company by one of its branches situated in a foreign country. It said Irish taxation authorities also can force Irish banks to produce records of accounts held by customers wherever the information is located.

“Ireland continues to facilitate cooperation with other states, including the United States, in the fight against crime and would be pleased to consider, as expeditiously as possible, a request under the treaty, should one be made,” it said.