The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to take up an email privacy case involving Microsoft.
According to Reuters, the court will decide whether U.S. prosecutors should have access to emails held on Microsoft servers located in Dublin, Ireland.
The justices will hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling last year preventing federal prosecutors from obtaining emails stored in Microsoft computer servers in Dublin, Ireland in a drug trafficking investigation.
The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals was a win for privacy advocates, but Justice Department prosecutors have expressed concern that such a ruling could hinder criminal investigations. No matter the ruling, the case stands to have far-reaching consequences, as the Supreme Court will decide whether domestic search warrants apply to data held outside of the U.S.
In a blog post, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith argued that allowing the government access to data stored outside of the United States would set a worrying precedent not only in the U.S., but also for governments around the world. Says Smith:
If the U.S. government can unilaterally use a warrant to seize emails outside the United States, what’s to stop other governments from acting unilaterally to seize emails stored inside the United States? At a time when countries are rightly worried about foreign government hacking, the DOJ’s interpretation would open the door to accomplishing the same thing.
According to Reuters, a ruling in this particular case is due by the end of June.
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