Supreme Court to hear Microsoft data privacy case

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving the protection of data stored overseas, reports The Hill.

In U.S. v. Microsoft, the Department of Justice claims American companies who store data on servers overseas must still abide by the rules laid out in U.S. warrants. Specifically, federal investigators sought data from Microsoft, who stored its data on servers in Ireland.

The case began in December 2013 when the U.S. government issued a warrant in connection with an ongoing criminal narcotics investigation. Officials attempted to obtain data in an email account of a Microsoft customer, but the company refused to turn over the emails, which were stored on a server in Ireland.

In July 2016, a lower court ruled that companies are not compelled to turn over data stored on servers outside of the U.S. when served with a warrant, meaning the DOJ needs to follow the same procedures used to obtain physical evidence stored outside the country.

Now, lawmakers are debating how to update current laws governing data privacy and access to data across national borders.

"We will continue to press our case in court that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act — a law enacted decades before there was such a thing as cloud computing — was never intended to reach within other countries' borders," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post

"If U.S. law enforcement can obtain the emails of foreigners stored outside the United States, what's to stop the government of another country from getting your emails even though they are located in the United States?" Mr. Smith added.

More articles on cybersecurity:

Microsoft: North Korea to blame for WannaCry attacks

Missouri clinic pays ransom, notifies 1.6k patients of cyberattack

3 tips for IT leaders to teach effective cybersecurity

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