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Monday, 17 October 2016 10:10

Govt to appeal Microsoft win in overseas data case

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The US Department of Justice has, as expected, challenged Microsoft's victory in a case where it successfully fought the notion that data held in an overseas location is subject to US court orders.

The July verdict meant that emails held on a server in Ireland, that the US government was seeking to obtain saying they had relevance to a drug-trafficking operation, were out of the government's reach.

The DoJ has now filed for an appeal to be heard by the full appeals court of the Southern District of New York, claiming that the previous ruling will get in the way of investigations.

The original case was filed well before the revelations of worldwide surveillance by the NSA were published, based on information leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Microsoft was held in contempt of court by a Southern District of New York ruling when it refused to hand over the emails.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals based in New York reversed that decision.

The original warrant demanded that Microsoft release the contents of all emails stored in the particular account; records and information about account identification (including username and method of payment); all user records, including images and files; and all communications between Microsoft and the user about the account.

American companies have lost business due to fears that any data held within US jurisdiction will be within grasp of the NSA after the Snowden revelations.

Firms have thus resorted to provide data repositories outside the US. Microsoft set up cloud services in a German data centre in March to avoid being subject to US laws.

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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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