Federal court rules Microsoft must disclose overseas customer data

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Thursday upheld a magistrate judge's ruling [opinion, pdf] requiring Microsoft [official website] to turn over customers' emails and other account information. Microsoft had objected to the application of US search warrants to information stored in its overseas data centers on the grounds that US law does not apply in Ireland, where the data center in question is located. Judge Loretta A. Preska [official profile] rejected that argument, finding [Reuters report] that the issue is "a question of control, not a question of the location of that information." Microsoft, along with other technology companies, have sought to prevent federal prosecutors from accessing overseas customer data. This ruling could affect those efforts as well as plans to offer cloud computing services overseas. The court's ruling was stayed pending an appeal by Microsoft.

Microsoft has been involved in various legal battles over the past few years. In October 2013 the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held [JURIST report] that the International Trade Commission (ITC) erred in finding that Motorola Mobility, a branch of Google, did not infringe a Microsoft graphical interface patent. In September 2013 Microsoft was joined by Yahoo and Google in an attempt [JURIST report] to publish a transparency report which would detail all government data requests during a certain time period. In July 2013 Microsoft filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against US Customs officials accusing them of refusing to follow an import ban issued in May 2012 against Google by the ITC regarding the above mentioned Motorola Mobility patent infringment. In February 2013 US District Court Judge James Robart restricted [JURIST report] the patent lawsuit by Motorola Mobility against Microsoft, holding that certain parts of three different Motorola patents were not valid.

 

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