Show-down looms in tech vs government struggle

The squabble over data security between the American technology companies and the US Government is set for a show-down the week after next.


On July 31st a US Federal Judge will decide whether the US government can force Microsoft to hand over an email stored on a Dublin-based server.

Microsoft is arguing that the writ of the US judicial system runs only so far as the US border.

The US government says that a valid subpoena, order or warrant can apply to documents stored outside American territory.

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

Microsoft  told the Judge that  Edward Snowdens’s revelations mean that trust in US companies is low and that a decision favourable to the government would further erode that trust and ultimately erode US companies’ global competitiveness.

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

Apple and Cisco have stated that US companies are at risk of being sanctioned by foreign governments and the US should seek co-operation with foreign governments via treaty law.

The US government says this is an impractical approach and that is essential for its law enforcement efforts that it should have access to all electronic communications.

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