Microsoft is currently embroiled in a long-running 2013 data jurisdiction case, with Microsoft is currently in the US Supreme Court fighting a data request by the DoJ for information held in Ireland on their servers on an Irish resident. The DoJ has argued that since Microsoft controls the servers they could easily comply with the request while Microsoft has argued that the request should be passed through Irish authorities and normal “mutual legal assistance requests” channels.
The EU has already filed an amicus brief explaining European privacy law to the US Supreme court , and now Law360 reports that major European trade organizations have also told the U.S. Supreme Court that if the justices overturn a decision quashing a warrant served on Microsoft and allow the U.S. Department of Justice to grab data stored overseas, they would place international companies in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between violating European privacy laws or an American search warrant.
The organizations, which represent major industrial companies in Germany, Poland, France and Ireland, on Thursday filed an amicus brief supporting Microsoft and urging the justices to uphold a 2016 ruling which found the Justice Dept. cannot force Microsoft to turn over customer data stored on servers outside the US.
Earlier Microsoft’s head legal counsel Brad Smith has earlier said “The [Justice Department’s] position would put businesses in impossible conflict-of-law situations and hurt the security, jobs, and personal rights of Americans,”
Microsoft has more than 100 data centres in 40 countries, and leaving that data open to a simple US warrant would make foreign companies very reluctant to trust their data to any US company. If the US Government prevailed in its insistence that it has jurisdiction over any data held overseas by an American company it would have a damaging effect on the business of cloud service companies such as Microsoft and Google, who may be shut out of markets such as the EU with tight privacy laws.
Read more about the case in our previous coverage here.