Judge tells Microsoft To Reveal Irish Email

In a blow for all American tech companies US Federal Judge Loretta Preska has ruled that Microsoft must hand over an email stored on a computer in Ireland.

Microsoft argued: “Congress has not authorised the the issuance of warrants that reach outside US territory, the government cannot seek, and a court cannot issue, a warrant allowing federal agents to break down the doors of Microsoft’s Dublin facility.”l

The judge now says they can.

Microsoft told Judge Preska that Edward Snowden’s revelations mean that trust in US companies is low and that if the government won the lawsuit then that trust would be further eroded which would, ultimately, erode US companies’ global competitiveness.

Microsoft was joined in that view by Apple, Cisco and Verizon who said that if the US government wins the case it would result in ‘dramatic conflict with foreign data protection laws.’

A US Assistant Attorney-General said Judge Preska’s ruling could provoke retaliation by other countries

An example, said Microsoft, was Chinese government officials this week going too Microsoft’s offices in a China and demanding access to material stored on computers in America – an incident which Judge Preska, called “pretty scary.”

Judge Preska ruled, however, that the US government’s right to see stored material depended on who controlled the data rather than where it was stored.



  1. Maybe the Black Hawks would land to meet the Seals swimming up the Liffy for a combined forces night-time assault on MS’ offices. But Yes, you’re right, Irish Law would, theoretically, take precedence over US law in Ireland. But in reality, I expect the US government would ask the Garda to enforce the judgment and the Garda would comply. But what fun if they didn’t.

  2. It is a “customer’s” email that she wants access to? What is so damning in this email? One could make the argument that it kills trust in the US tech industry. But that has already been thoroughly trashed via the Snowden revelations, and the bolllox attiitude of social media companies to their cattle (sorry customers). Anyway, truth is a rare commodity nowadays in many ways.

  3. Well it certainly worked for the banks, Mike, for a while anyway.

  4. Iceland !!

  5. Yes indeed, Keith, if you have any secrets it’s best to write them down and store them under the floorboards. The old ways are the best ways.

  6. This is nothing new though. I seem to recall that several years ago the US government demanded that Rackspace, who hosted the servers for Indymedia, gave them access to Indymedia’s data stored on the servers.

    Basically anyone who stores data in ‘the cloud’ should treat it as public data as far as the US government (and probably the UK too) is concerned.

  7. But where? DontAgree, Europe’s laws on data are stricter than America’s. China would snaffle everything. I suppose they could follow Edward Snowden to Russia.

  8. Time then for these companies to move HQ to a different country … perhaps this is the way the US government will finally succeed where many others have tried but failed … namely creating a ‘Silicon Valley’ in a new location

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