Microsoft is fighting a government search warrant seeking customer emails stored abroad in a case that could have far-reaching implications for how tech companies deal with law enforcement.
In a court filing made public this week, Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) argued that prosecutors had no right to execute the warrant because it seeks information stored at a facility in Dublin, Ireland. The identity of the customer or customers involved isn’t clear, though the case relates to alleged drug trafficking and money laundering.
Allowing the warrant to move forward, Microsoft argued, “would violate international law and treaties, and reduce the privacy protection of everyone on the planet.”
Verizon (VZ, Tech30) has also weighed in, submitting a brief in support of Microsoft’s argument. The case raises questions about what role jurisdiction and physical borders play when it comes to digital information.
Tech companies like Microsoft and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) store customer information at data centers all around the world. In the case of Microsoft email users whose data is stored in Ireland, Microsoft says their information “resides on a specific server in the Dublin datacenter” and “does not exist in any form inside the United States.”