DOJ challenges landmark Microsoft warrant case
By Joe Uchill - 10/14/16 01:29 PM EDT
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is appealing a landmark court decision that
requires information stored on a server in a foreign country to be obtained in
accordance with that nation's laws.
In July, a panel of three federal judges ruled that a United States warrant
could not compel Microsoft to retrieve emails stored on a server located in
Ireland. Traditionally, countries request cooperation from one another in
accordance with negotiated treaties to obtain evidence abroad.
The DOJ has filed for a new hearing in front of the full appeals court for the
Southern District of New York, arguing that the previous ruling will hamper
“In the best cases, the Government may be able to obtain this information via
the costly, cumbersome and time-consuming process of seeking legal assistance
from foreign authorities pursuant to treaties, where available; but in many
cases the Government will have no means of obtaining the information at all,”
reads the DOJ filing.
“This effect is already harming important investigations, and it has
potentially far-reaching consequences.”
Civil libertarians and technology activists celebrated the Microsoft ruling
because it added a separate government to serve additional check on
authorities' power to collect evidence. Internationally, the ruling was also
popular for reaffirming the sovereignty of foreign nations.
The DOJ argues in its filing that since Microsoft can transfer the information
at will, without leaving the U.S., the evidence should be covered by a U.S.
warrant. And it says that responding to the warrant would not circumvent the
privacy of users, because they have no way to know, or control, where their
data is stored.
It's better to burn out than fade away.
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