The Department of Justice has urged the Supreme Court to drop the long-running case it is currently hearing to decide whether Microsoft should hand over data stored on a foreign citizen on Microsoft’s server located in a foreign country.
The DoJ notes the case has been rendered moot by the new Cloud Act, signed into law a week ago.
The Cloud Act establishes a legal pathway for the US to form agreements with other nations that make it easier for law enforcement to collect data stored on foreign soil. This would mean countries would set up bilateral agreements to exchange user data on delivery of a warrant.
Microsoft worked with the government to craft the Cloud Act and supported its implementation, with Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, saying in a blog post that the Cloud Act is a “good compromise” that addresses law enforcement needs while also ensuring “appropriate protections for privacy and human rights.”
The law has however been criticized for exposing the data of US citizens to less than scrupulous foreign governments with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expressed concern that US companies would now be obligated to share data on US users with foreign governments without much vetting.