A search warrant commanding Microsoft to turn over certain customer email data that is currently stored overseas was unfrozen late this week. The company declined to comply.
In a statement, Microsoft said that it “will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal.” This protest act by Microsoft, arguing that domestic warrants should not be able to command access to data stored abroad, has picked up support from other technology companies.
Profits are at risk. Modern technology companies vend cloud-based services to a global user base — if any one country can use domestic warrants to command access to the data of all companies that are headquartered within its borders, regardless of where the information in question is physically stored, no company can protect the data of users who hail from other countries from its own government. That would harm the company’s ability to sell services to those…
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