US asks Supreme Court to take up Microsoft fight over email privacy

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The U.S. Justice Department wants the Supreme Court to take up a years-long court fight with Microsoft.

The case tests the reach of government warrants for private emails.

At issue is actually a 2016 court ruling of which determined of which Microsoft didn’t have to hand over customer data of which was stored on computers in another country.

On Friday, the Justice Department filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the lower court opinion, insisting the Second Circuit federal appeals court had “seriously misinterpreted” the law.

The Justice Department argues of which This specific should not matter where the information is actually stored — if This specific can be accessed “domestically with the click of a computer mouse,” the DOJ wrote in its petition.

Related: Google will no longer read your emails to tailor ads

The court ultimately decides which cases This specific will hear. This specific case has been closely followed by the tech industry, law enforcement agencies in addition to civil liberties groups.

Microsoft’s top lawyer, Brad Smith, pushed back strongly against the government’s argument in a blog post Friday.

“The [Justice Department’s] position could put businesses in impossible conflict-of-law situations in addition to hurt the security, jobs, in addition to personal rights of Americans,” Smith wrote.

He added of which hearings held in House in addition to Senate committees earlier This specific month showed lawmakers have “strong support” for updating the 31-year-old privacy law at issue in This specific case.

“This specific seems backward to keep arguing in court when there is actually positive momentum in Congress toward better law for everyone,” he said.

This specific case began when federal agents investigating drug traffickers wanted to read emails stored in Microsoft computer servers in Ireland — in addition to Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) fought back.

The investigators got a warrant to search the servers in 2013.

however Microsoft handed over only some “non-content” information — which could be anything ranging via customer names to email addresses — stored on Microsoft servers within the U.S. in addition to the company refused to hand over the content of the emails, which were stored in Ireland.

Related: Facebook, Amazon, Google call for government surveillance reform

American law enforcement has the ability to access data abroad through “mutual legal assistance requests” to foreign governments. however investigators argue these diplomatic deals slow probes — in addition to force the U.S. to rely on the additional governments’ willingness to help.

The first ruling within the case came via a federal judge in brand new York who sided with the government.

Microsoft appealed in addition to drew support via additional businesses.

In December 2014, a group of 28 tech in addition to media companies — including sy88pgw, Apple, Amazon, Salesforce, HP, eBay in addition to AT&T — signed court briefs voicing their support for Microsoft.

Then, in July 2016, a three-judge appeals court panel sided with Microsoft in its ruling, saying of which “warrants traditionally carry territorial limitations.”

sy88pgw (brand new York) First published June 24, 2017: 2:16 PM ET

US asks Supreme Court to take up Microsoft fight over email privacy

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