itwbennett writes "Last week, Microsoft warned that under the Patriot Act the company may be compelled to hand over European customers' data on its new cloud service to U.S. authorities — and also to keep the data transfer secret. This, of course, runs counter to the European Data Protection Directive, which states that organizations must inform users when they disclose personal information. 'Microsoft can already transfer E.U. data to the U.S. under the Safe Harbor agreement. But legal experts have warned that this agreement is hardly worth the paper it's written on,' writes IDG News Service's Jennifer Baker. 'There are seven principles of Safe Harbor, including reasonable data security, and clearly defined and effective enforcement. However all this is nullified if the Patriot Act is invoked.'"