Home Government Tech Policy Supreme Court agrees to hear Microsoft email case appeal

Supreme Court agrees to hear Microsoft email case appeal

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by the government against the verdict in a case where Microsoft had obtained a ruling allowing it to prevent the government accessing emails stored on a server in Ireland.

Reuters reported that the court would hear the appeal by the Trump administration against a ruling by a lower court last year.

A ruling is due by the end of June 2018.

In July 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit based in New York reversed a decision by a Southern District of New York court which had held Microsoft in contempt of court for refusing to hand over the customer emails.

And in January, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a 4-4 decision, refused to rehear an appeal of its own decision.

The Department of Justice said in its appeal that the lower court ruling “gravely threatens public safety and national security” because it limits the government’s ability to “ward off terrorism and similar national security threats and to investigate and prosecute crimes".

Google is fighting a similar case in which it has received a contrasting ruling.

The company was served a search warrant in July last year and ordered to turn over email stored abroad, which the US said it needed for a federal investigation into wire fraud.

Google contested the warrant, citing the Microsoft case.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.