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In the wake of the signing of the new Cloud Act, the Department of Justice urged the US Supreme Court to drop the long-running case on whether Microsoft should hand over data stored on a foreign citizen on Microsoft’s server located in a foreign country.
Today the Court complied and the case has now been formally dismissed, meaning Microsoft must now hand over the data.
In a statement Microsoft said:
We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling ending our case in light of the CLOUD Act being signed into to law. Our goal has always been a new law and international agreements with strong privacy protections that govern how law enforcement gathers digital evidence across borders. As the governments of the UK and Australia have recognized, the CLOUD Act encourages these types of agreements, and we urge the US government to move quickly to negotiate them.
The new law facilitates the lawful cross-border investigation of cases by giving easy access to data stored on overseas servers as long as the other country has signed up to the agreement, but the fact that the agreement is bilateral has worried privacy advocates who are concerned that less than scrupulous foreign governments may now have easy access to the data of US citizens.
Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, however, said that the Cloud Act is a “good compromise” that addresses law enforcement needs while also ensuring “appropriate protections for privacy and human rights.”