DOJ Files Motion to US Supreme Court, Questions Decision Favoring Microsoft

The latest news reports online talk about the reaction of the Supreme Court of America after learning the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which favor giant software company, Microsoft.

The US Supreme Court is set to review the request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reverse the handed decision by the Second Circuit.

The DOJ continue to battle against Microsoft, regarding the issue that stored data from their servers in Ireland, which the federal investigators had discovered. According to the report through rt.com, the law enforcement of America is having trouble reaching the stored data from abroad due to the protection of Microsoft and does not permit access.

From the submitted appeal on Friday as quoted by the news online, the DOJ is arguing that the Court of Appeals Second ruling “has created a regime where electronic communication service providers… can thwart legitimate and important criminal and national security investigations.”

The argument between the DOJ and Microsoft started back in 2013 when the American government issued a warrant against the giant software maker, which has then linked to the ongoing investigation of the criminal narcotics because the government wanted to seize the stored data of a specific customer who has an active Microsoft email.

 

Unfortunately, the popular software company refused to submit the needed data with connection to the investigated email account of the customer. Since then, both parties had gone through legal dispute in the courthouse about the stored data from the company’s Ireland-based servers.

Last June, the DOJ made a decision to file a motion to bring the lawsuit to the US Supreme Court already.

 

In a statement presented by the DOJ as quoted through thehill.com, it explained that, “The panel reached that unprecedented holding by reasoning that such a disclosure would be an extraterritorial application of the Act — even though the warrant requires disclosure in the United States of information that the provider can access domestically with the click of a computer mouse.”

This particular argument likewise caught the attention of some lawmakers in Washington, wherein they debated about the plan to update the existing laws in the country when it comes to data privacy as well as law enforcement procedure in accessing stored data from other nations, when necessary.

If ever the US Supreme Court will agree to review and hear the lawsuit, it is possible that any decision it hands will make a huge impact on how tech companies need to keep their data and on how they permit the law enforcement to access such data from them.

Should there is not firm decision from the higher court to reverse the lawsuit; the Congress may pursue its plan to modify the almost 3-decade privacy law.

In line with this issue, the giant software maker already responded to the request of the DOJ. As written by Brad Smith through a blog post and quoted by The Hill online, he said that, “We will continue to press our case in court that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) — a law enacted decades before there was such a thing as cloud computing — was never intended to reach within other countries’ borders.”

Smith added in his post that, “If U.S. law enforcement can obtain the emails of foreigners stored outside the United States, what’s to stop the government of another country from getting your emails even though they are located in the United States?” He continued saying, “We believe that people’s privacy rights should be protected by the laws of their own countries and we believe that information stored in the cloud should have the same protections as paper stored in your desk.”

The 1986 Electronics Communications Privacy Act states that a service provider need to disclose any electronic communication to the legitimate agency of the government when it needs to investigate potential criminals.