Last Friday, a US Judge lifted a stay on a previous order requiring that Microsoft hand over a customer’s email that was stored on a server in Ireland. On Saturday, Microsoft responded that they would not comply with the order.
This is the latest chapter in a saga that began on July 31st when New York District Judge Loretta Preska ruled that Microsoft must comply with a search warrant compelling them to surrender customer data it stores overseas. Microsoft argued that “a US prosecutor cannot obtain a US warrant to search someone’s home located in another country, just as another country’s prosecutor cannot obtain a court order in her home country to conduct a search in the United States”. However, Judge Preska rejected that argument and said that “It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information”.
Although Microsoft is risking contempt of court, they have publicly committed to fight the warrant in order to protect their customers’ data. Several other high profile cloud storage vendors, including Verizon, Apple, AT&T and Cisco, support Microsoft’s efforts.
The outcome of this case could have ramifications for companies and individuals here in Canada that store data in the cloud, even if that cloud has a maple leaf on it.