The US Supreme Court will review a case concerning whether law enforcement can demand data stored overseas from a US-based email provider, according to a court order released Monday.
The case, United States v. Microsoft Corp., began in 2013 when a New York judge issued a search warrant seeking records and emails from a Microsoft account in a case connected with a criminal investigation. After concluding that the emails investigators sought were located on one of its servers in Ireland, Microsoft refused to hand over the information, arguing that a US judge has no authority to hand out warrants for search and seizure of property or data abroad.
The judge later rejected Microsoft’s request to stop the warrant and. Microsoft again refused, saying that the US doesn’t have the right to access email communications from people who are not living in the country. An appeals court eventually ruled that Microsoft didn’t have to supply the data to law enforcement.
Microsoft has argued that Congress needs to pass legislation that would update current data laws, which were enacted more than 30 years ago.
“The continued reliance on a law passed in 1986 will neither keep people safe nor protect people’s rights,” said Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in a blog post. “If US 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?”