Wednesday, 04 April 2018 07:52

US makes fresh bid to get Microsoft Ireland emails

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The US Department of Justice has made a fresh bid to obtain emails stored in Ireland by Microsoft, filing a motion to dismiss an existing case in the Supreme Court and issuing a fresh warrant to the company seeking the release of the emails.

The release was sought under a new law, the CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act, that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on 23 March. The Act changed the existing law so that law-enforcement warrants apply to data stored anywhere by US-based tech firms.

The emails in question were initially sought by the Department of Justice in 2013, through a warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act, with the reported reason being that they were to do with a probe into drug trafficking.

Microsoft sought to quash the order but a magistrate judge refused to do so in April 2014. The company appealed the verdict to a federal district judge but the order was upheld, and the court said the company was in contempt of court for refusing to hand over the emails.

In July 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit based in New York reversed this decision by the 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 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a 4-4 decision, refused to rehear an appeal of its own decision.

The case then went to the Supreme Court which held its first hearing in February, with a verdict expected in June.

The DoJ has now submitted a motion arguing that the case was now moot, given the passage of the Act.

It cited the changed provisions of the Act, which state: "A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall comply with the obligations of this chapter to preserve, backup, or disclose the contents of a wire or electronic communication and any record or other information pertaining to a customer or subscriber within such provider’s possession, custody, or control, regardless of whether such communication, record, or other information is located within or outside of the United States."

Link to motion courtest The Register


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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