Microsoft must hand over an Ireland email account to the government, the latest judgment in what is quickly becoming a growing cloud data/privacy issue.
In the latest in what amounts to a huge controversy over the rights of individuals regarding email and cloud accounts and the post-Snowden era, arrives a case involving an Ireland resident whose emails and cloud data can be accessed due to a search warrant that was approved in December. Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled that Microsoft must hand over the emails of a Dublin, Ireland resident – even if the resident and the individual’s email are located in Ireland.
For Preska, the heart of the matter concerns the person or entity in control of the information (that being Microsoft). Since Microsoft is an American company, an American court could require Microsoft to provide the information despite the location of the resident in question.
Microsoft expressed its outrage at Preska’s ruling, saying that “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email privacy deserves strong protection in the US and around the world,” said Vice President Brad Smith.
Microsoft lawyer E. Joshua Rosenkranz made a case against the government’s ruling, with Rosenkranz saying that giving the US control in the US to obtain the records of an Ireland resident would do nothing more than provide a reason for other countries to spy on Americans in the future. After all, if the US can reach over to Ireland to collect information, who’s to say that international countries can’t reach over to America to collect information on an American or international resident?
At the moment, Microsoft’s being forced to comply with the court’s ruling, but it is not alone. Google is still feeling the effects of the EU Court’s ruling to remove certain embarrassing or demeaning links that EU citizens find harmful or damaging to their reputation or credibility.
To add fuel to the fire, Google is currently under investigation for accused anti-trust practices in Europe, as European regulators seek to build a case to the question of whether or not Google’s allowing fair play and competition within Android. Google is the official Android owner, but the company demands that its apps and services take front and center.
If the EU finds Google guilty of antitrust practices, companies like Samsung Electronics could find it easier to pre-install their own alternative services on mobile devices.