Microsoft Wins Overseas Datacenter Data Access Litigation in Federal Court

The verdict of the federal court will help cloud service providers to maintain high security and privacy of data stored in the overseas data centers.

Federal court rulingGreatResponder.com  A federal court verdict regarding the government access to the customer data located in overseas data center that was awaited for over one year has proved to be a shot in the arm for many cloud service providers across the United States of America, especially Microsoft Corporation, which was fighting legally against the magistrate judgement delivered back in May 2014.

According to the earlier judgement delivered by the magistrate, the government agencies have authority to force the cloud service providers to allow the access to the data of the customers located in the overseas data centers. The latest decision in federal court has overturned that decision and delivered the judgement that the government cannot force the Microsoft to give access to the customer data stored in the Ireland data center.

The main reason for this litigation was the access that the government agencies wanted to have to the email server of Microsoft located at the Dublin, Ireland data center. The decision of the magistrate was challenged by Microsoft in the federal court later.

The detailed ruling consists of the 43 pages that clearly highlight that the Stored Communication Act SCA does not allow any government agencies to force the concerned cloud service providers to provide the access to the customer data located in the foreign countries. “Congress did not intend the SCA’s warrant provisions to apply extraterritorially. The SCA warrant in this case may not lawfully be used to compel Microsoft to product to the government the contents of a customer’s email account stored exclusively in Ireland. We therefore reverse the District Court’s denial of Microsoft’s motion to quash; we vacate its order holding Microsoft in civil contempt of court; and we remand this case to the District Court with instructions to quash the warrant insofar as it demands user content stored outside of the United States,”the ruling further maintained.

The decision was welcomed by Microsoft official Mr. Brad Smith in his official statement. He wrote, “Since the day we filed this case, we’ve underscored our belief that technology needs to advance, but timeless values need to endure. Privacy and the proper rule of law stand among these timeless values.”

The US department of justice was very disappointed over this verdict of the federal court.

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Maria Dehn

Maria Dehn has held editorial management positions for numerous print and Web publications. She has more than 17 years of Information Technologies and journalism experience and has written many reports on cloud computing. You can reach her on Twitter @MariaDehn