International -- 2018

United States v. Microsoft Corp.   (U.S. Supreme Court)

Search warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act

This case is about a U.S. Government warrant for access to e-mail that is stored by Microsoft on a server in Ireland. In 2014, a federal judge ruled that the government can use a search warrant issued under the Stored Communications Act to gain access to digital information within the control of a U.S.-based internet service provider but stored on a foreign server.

On appeal to the Second Circuit, the NAM filed an amicus brief. We are troubled by the government's demands to seize such personal emails without following the proper legal procedures. The government’s position in this case is that prosecutors are free to ignore the laws of other nations and require production of data of non-U.S citizens. The Second Circuit ruled that the Stored Communications Act does not authorize courts to enforce the warrant, and that the government should follow the Mutual Legal Assistance Treat adopted by Ireland the United States in 2001.

That ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed on Oct. 16, 2017, to hear the appeal. On Apr. 17, 2018, after the passage of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, commonly known as the CLOUD Act, the Court declared the case moot with a direction for the district court to vacate the ruling against Microsoft.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (January 18, 2018)


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