Feeds

Microsoft challenges US gov over attempts to search overseas data

Claims Irish facility should not be subject to US warrants

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft has challenged a ruling that would allow US government authorities to search its overseas facilities.

The company said in a petition filed to the US District Court for Southern New York that it objects to an order that would allow law enforcement to search all Microsoft-owned facilities worldwide.

At the heart of the issue is a warrant granting authorities access to a datacenter facility in Dublin, Ireland. Citing the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a magistrate judge ordered Redmond to open its doors to investigators seeking access to emails stored at the facility.

According to Microsoft's appeal, the government's order to search the Dublin facility is a violation of Redmond's right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The company claims that the government has presented its ECPA order as a "hybrid" authorization that carries the authority of both a subpoena and a warrant, and that by doing so, the government is wrongfully trying to sidestep the strict requirements of a search warrant and operate within the more vague constraints of a subpoena request.

"The Warrant in this case violates the Fourth Amendment because it fails to identify the place to be searched with particularity," Microsoft said in its filing. "Instead, the Warrant purports to authorize law enforcement officers to search for any information associated with the target email account that is stored at premises owned, maintained, controlled, or operated by Microsoft anywhere in the world, and further seeks to conscript Microsoft to execute it on their behalf."

Redmond is not alone in its efforts. The New York Times noted that Verizon has filed an amicus curiae – literally, "friend of the court" – brief in support of Microsoft.

"Verizon highly values the privacy of its customers and the confidentiality of their information, and makes great efforts to protect its customers' interests," the company said in its filing. "While Verizon complies with lawful government demands for information, the extraordinary reach of the demand here raises serious questions about its legitimacy. In addition, because Verizon operates in multiple countries, it must be particularly sensitive to the risk of conflicts between the laws of the countries in which it operates."

The filings come in the wake of another motion by Microsoft to keep the US government from accessing its customer data. Last month, Redmond successfully challenged an FBI request that would have allowed investigators to look at Office 365 subscriber data under a secretive National Security Letter. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.