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Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-didn't-say-pretty-please dept.
schwit1 sends this excerpt from a report about Microsoft: Despite a federal court order directing Microsoft to turn overseas-held email data to federal authorities, the software giant said Friday it will continue to withhold that information as it waits for the case to wind through the appeals process. The judge has now ordered both Microsoft and federal prosecutors to advise her how to proceed by next Friday, September 5.

Let there be no doubt that Microsoft's actions in this controversial case are customer-centric. The firm isn't just standing up to the US government on moral principles. It's now defying a federal court order. "Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal," a Microsoft statement notes. "Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen."
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Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

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  • That's nice, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:04PM (#47793117)
    Isn't there a NSA backdoor to MS?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:06PM (#47793131)

      What, is this all just for show? Why would the Feds want to make news over them demanding the data from Microsoft?
      Is this just to make us believe they can't get the data without Microsoft's cooperation?

      • by PPH (736903) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:18PM (#47793387)

        What, is this all just for show?

        Its either plausible deniability or the need to demonstrate an unbroken and untainted chain of evidence. The NSA may in fact already have access to this data. But acting like they don't, or even loosing a minor case might set other criminals at ease about the security of their data within the Microsoft infrastructure. And they won't switch to a more secure platform. The chain of evidence might be needed to keep a subsequent trial from being thrown out due to tainted evidence. The NSA may already have the evidence (through questionable means), but getting a clean copy removes issues of it being fruit of the poisonous tree [wikipedia.org].

    • "Backdoor"? More of a freeway with HOV lanes.

    • by russotto (537200) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:47PM (#47793503) Journal

      The government could almost certainly get this data by going through the proper procedures in Ireland. That they can also get it surreptitiously doesn't matter; they're trying to establish precedent that they can legally get any data held by any US company anywhere in the world without involving any other government; that precedent is the important part, not the particular data involved.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @10:47PM (#47793681)

        The government could almost certainly get this data by going through the proper procedures in Ireland.

        Maybe not. If the Irish government caves in to American pressure, then data centers will start leaving Ireland, taking money and jobs with them, just like they are already leaving America. If Microsoft loses this case, and the extra-territorial reach of American Law is upheld, then, if you want privacy, you will need to not only store your data outside America, but not even with a company that does business there. The American government cares more about reading our mail than about keeping our jobs.

        • by Kijori (897770) <ward.jake@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:27AM (#47794847)

          Will they? There are a lot of advantages to running this in Ireland: low tax rates without the negative publicity of operating in a tax haven, other favourable financial and tax rules that allow foreign companies to book their profits there to further reduce their tax bills, a skilled workforce, good infrastructure, and all the up-front costs that come from building and equipping the data centre in the first place have been paid already. Call me cynical, but I'm not convinced that many data centres will move if Irish law allows the authorities to get this data.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @06:27AM (#47794629)

      Isn't there a NSA backdoor to MS?

      They do. The feds already have the data but cannot use it in court. Getting the companies in question to play ball is essential for legal procedures, not for the actual data acquisition.

  • customer-centric (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:06PM (#47793127) Journal

    Microsoft's actions might seem "customer-centric," but really they're fighting for their lives.

    If MS can be forced to give up European data, stored on European servers, that's game over for them.
    Lawsuits and investigations will flourish in Europe, because their data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than ours.

    This could kill MS's European business.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:29PM (#47793201)

      You mean "Kill every company on the internet's business that serves customers in Europe and America."

      Legal precedent would compel Google, and everyone else, to do the same stupid thing this judge has ordered, who is apparently unaware of international laws and seems to assume that US law is the only thing that exists or even should exist. If MS loses, everyone loses.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        judge has ordered, who is apparently unaware of international laws and seems to assume that US law is the only thing that exists or even should exist

        A judge is demanding a United States company to play by the rules of the United States? And you have a problem with that? US law is and should be the only law the judge needs to consider. If US laws are incompatible with other nation's laws, then don't blame it on the judge, complain to your legislators.

        • by Atryn (528846) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:44PM (#47793491) Homepage

          A judge is demanding a United States company to play by the rules of the United States? And you have a problem with that? US law is and should be the only law the judge needs to consider. If US laws are incompatible with other nation's laws, then don't blame it on the judge, complain to your legislators.

          Another great reason for an inversion besides taxes.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            It wouldn't matter - any company with a presence in the US would be at risk, no matter where they hoard their earnings.

          • by doginthewoods (668559) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @12:46AM (#47793999)
            The US is in a weak position, because in order to create a uniform standard of international law to address this sort of thing, the US will have to work as an equal with other countries who are already suspicious of US motives. The US knows this, which is why they are trying to bulldoze their way through this. The issue here is international law, and the laws of other countries involved. The HUGE problem is this: If MS is forced to turn over the data that is in another country (and possibly causing MS to violate the laws of that country) , then another country, using exactly the same ruling, could force a US company to obey its laws. Here's and example: Russia finds a worm , virus, whatever in some software that it's government is using, and that their data was stolen. Russian law allows confiscation of all computer hardware and the people involved held in jail until trial in Russia. The Russian government decides that the infection was present in software that was on the computer at the time of purchase, and as a result that company must have Russia's data, so now Russia can send its enforcers over here and confiscate..... Ooops. What MS is doing is trying to prevent a very shortsighted US ruling of opening a Pandora's box that can be used against the US.
        • by whoever57 (658626)
          Imagine that someone overseas has deposited something in a box held (overseas) by the subsidary of a US bank. Should the hypothetical US bank comply with the demand of a judge to make the contents available to a US law enforcement authority?
        • Re:customer-centric (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @11:13PM (#47793763)

          A judge is demanding a United States company to play by the rules of the United States?

          NO! This ruling is not limited to only American companies. It also applies to anyone doing business in America. So if America wants banking records of a German citizen, living in Germany, they could compel Deutschbank to provide them. Likewise, if the Chinese government wants records for an American citizen's account at Bank of America, then America will have no reason to protest since BofA has offices in China, and the principle of extra-territorial subpoenas has been established. If Microsoft loses this case, it will be a terrible precedent, and a victory for oppressive governments all around the world.

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            That assumes that the US division of Deutsche Bank actually has access to the banking records of German citizens. If the chain of command is set up correctly within the company, then the US division should be unable to get access to German records without the agreement of someone sufficiently senior in Germany.

            Employees located in a different country would not be subject to the laws, but they are still subject to the hierarchy of their own business - that is if their boss is located in the US and compelled

        • Re:customer-centric (Score:4, Informative)

          by Demena (966987) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @01:33AM (#47794099)
          Excuse me but you appear to be mistaken. it is written in the US constitution that international treaties become part of US law. Where that introduces contradictions the treaty law applies. And judges have to repeat this. It may not apply in this particular case but it remains true.
      • by jbolden (176878)

        He may be aware of other country's laws. He just doesn't care. When/until the USA signs a treaty on this companies with physical presence in the USA are going to give up data when ordered.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Europeans, when push comes to shove, are generally useless when it comes to standing up for what is right. So even though these are foreign, presumably European emails, residing on European servers, once the appeal process finishes Microsoft will start downloading the data to US servers. And then the EU nations will promptly call a summit, bicker amongst themselves till the download is complete, whine a lot, but ultimately do nothing. Just like they are doing with Ukraine. Given a choice of doing something
      • Re:customer-centric (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:29PM (#47793441)

        You mean "Kill every company on the internet's business that serves customers in Europe and America."

        Legal precedent would compel Google, and everyone else, to do the same stupid thing this judge has ordered, who is apparently unaware of international laws and seems to assume that US law is the only thing that exists or even should exist. If MS loses, everyone loses.

        Actually, this same scenario happened with the banking industry and what the judge is proposing actually follows the international law and treaties that came out of it. In short, it doesn't matter where the assets are stored as to who has jurisdiction, but as to who has control over them. For instance if the IRA had deposits in Irish Allied Bank, but the cash was stored in the US, then the Irish Government could still freeze the account. So, if the data is stored somewhere else, but the company is headquartered in their land, why not the same thing?

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:33PM (#47793223) Homepage

      It's all just a matter of legal principle. Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based. So M$ is challenging the order to publicly establish a principle and protect it and all other internet companies in this regard. Technically speaking all other internet companies are now getting a free ride on M$'s dime, so it seems sometimes they do pay back to the industry. This is an important principle of law and something the US Federal government should be paying attention to and legislating to ensure the future of all US internet companies is not severely threatened.

      • Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based?

        Why shouldn't they? MS is a United States company. Why should MS, or any other corporation, be able to only abide by US law when it is convenient for them, and break it other times? If the laws of two jurisdictions are incompatible with each other, the corporation should have to make a hard choice and only operate in a single jurisdiction, and use other avenues to expand business to the other.

        This is not a case of the US trying to compel a European Company into doing something, it is compelling Microsoft, s

        • by bloodhawk (813939) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:16PM (#47793383)

          Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based?

          Why shouldn't they? MS is a United States company. Why should MS, or any other corporation, be able to only abide by US law when it is convenient for them, and break it other times? If the laws of two jurisdictions are incompatible with each other, the corporation should have to make a hard choice and only operate in a single jurisdiction, and use other avenues to expand business to the other.

          This is not a case of the US trying to compel a European Company into doing something, it is compelling Microsoft, subject to US law, to turn over data it holds, albeit in a different company. If an American individual is subpoenaed for information relating to a crime, resisting turning it over because it's held in a safe deposit box abroad, is no more an acceptable excuse than "it's in my other pants".

          An individual in the United States must abide by US law even when abroad, in addition to abiding by the rules of the foreign country. It's still illegal for an American to smoke weed or solicit 14 year old prostitutes abroad, despite those being legal in some places of the world. If American persons have to play by United States rules 24x7, why should a corporation get to pick and choose?

          The US legal system starts and ENDS at the US borders. You seem to have completely misunderstood this situation, For example your safe deposit box example, if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it, doing so would be a violation of europan law and the US officials doing it would be guilty of bank robbery and treated like any other common criminal. They must go through the countries legal system that holds the goods they want to seize, similarly the same applies to Data, the US can get access to it as long as it follows the appropriate laws and procedures. What the US government is trying to do is say other countries laws don't matter with data and therefore are asking a US companies to break another countries laws. You yourself said it that when in other countries you must abide by that countries rules, you cannot compel an individual or company to break the laws of another country. No one is suggesting that MS gets to ignore US laws, it is the US government saying that they get it ignore other countries laws and can compel US companies to do the same while they are in those countries.

          • The US legal system starts and ENDS at the US borders.

            Microsoft is headquartered and incorporated in the US and thus subject to US law. QED.

            • by dave562 (969951)

              The legal question is not so much where the corporation is based, but who owns the data that they have been entrusted with.

            • by bloodhawk (813939)

              The question is not about whether they are subject to US law, they are, it is whether US can tell a US based company to ignore another countries laws. The argument here is that what the US court is demanding isn't legal and the US doesn't have the legal authority to do.

            • by TubeSteak (669689)

              Microsoft is headquartered and incorporated in the US and thus subject to US law.

              The data in dispute is not subject to US law.
              Microsoft Ireland Operations Limited leases and operates the data center in question.
              A US judge has no jurisdiction.
              QED

            • Microsoft is headquartered and incorporated in the US and thus subject to US law.

              Yep. That's completely true. So if there were some data held on a server in the EU, and a judge decided it was relevant to a lawsuit and demanded that it be presented, they could reasonably hold some representative of the corporation to be in contempt of court until such time as they produced the data in question. However, it would not actually establish any entitlement to that data, nor make it not a violation of various laws if they were to seize it be force.

              QED.

              QED, what you have said is irrelevant.

          • by jbolden (176878)

            your safe deposit box example, if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it,

            The analogy is right, your understanding of the law is not. If a USA company had records in a Europeans safe deposit box a USA federal court could demand they retrieve it and present it to the court. They would not have to get a warrant in Europe. That's an option of course but just an option.

          • No, the others had it right. To draw on the analogy some more, the US isn't invading Europe to open the safe deposit box: it's ordering Microsoft to produce documents that it knows they possess, which is something that courts all over the world are allowed to do and do all the time. As a US company, Microsoft is subject to US law, even when abroad (e.g. laws outlawing bribes in foreign countries), including orders to produce the requested information. If I'm the bookkeeper for an organization, the courts ca

            • Microsoft US does not control the data. A separate company (Microsoft Ireland) does. Now it may be a fully owned subsidiary but it is still a separate legal entity. The question here is not what people think it is. Does the judge have the right to demand that Microsoft US instruct Microsoft Ireland to break Irish law. The answer to is no because the data is not in the possession or control of Microsoft US. If Microsoft US were to make the request of Microsoft Ireland the correct (and required) respons
          • This isn't seizing. This is ordering an entity to produce evidence. Yes, the US could order a US company to produce the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe. If the company doesn't comply, the US arm would be fined until it does comply. That is if the US couldn't get cooperation from local authorities to get it seized.

            The US government isn't saying anything about other countries' laws not applying. The US government is saying its own do. Where there is a conflict, it really isn't the US government's pro

          • Re:customer-centric (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Whatsisname (891214) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @10:24PM (#47793615) Homepage

            if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it, doing so would be a violation of europan law

            They can't take the box by force, but the US can instead throw you, the owner of it, in the slammer until you cough up the requested evidence. Where the evidence is, is irrelevant.

        • by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas@nOspAM.dsminc-corp.com> on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:24PM (#47793409) Homepage

          Actually they data is in Europe the judge is trying to say since they have access to it from the US they need to turn it over. The data is under the control of a division incorporated in Europe.

          There is established procedure to get this it called ask the European courts.

        • by dave562 (969951)

          Are the emails that the government wants the emails of Americans or Europeans? If they belong to the latter, and they are stored on European servers, it is calls into question on what legal basis the United States government has to view those emails.

          For what it is worth, I work for a United States based company that works in the legal technology field. We have operations in Europe. We had to stand up separate infrastructure in Europe in order to comply with European data privacy laws for our European cli

      • by jbolden (176878)

        The answer is going to be yes. The USA government can order USA companies to break other country's laws. The alternative would be that the USA loses sovereignty on its own soil. I'd say that Microsoft is just making it crystal clear there is a real problem so perhaps a treaty can be negotiated.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        It's all just a matter of legal principle. Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based. So M$ is challenging the order to publicly establish a principle and protect it and all other internet companies in this regard. Technically speaking all other internet companies are now getting a free ride on M$'s dime, so it seems sometimes they do pay back to the industry. This is an important principle of law and something the US Federal government should be paying attention to and legislating to ensure the future of all US internet companies is not severely threatened.

        Should a bank be publicly orederd to break laws in other countries, regardles of where it is based? That has already been answered in the affirmative. Banks are held to the laws of the country they are chartered in. Why should internet companies be different? Microsoft has no problem trying to hold foreign companies liable for US patent infringement, even if their local patent laws are different. Companies can't have it both ways. If you are a US company, you can't cry foul when US laws work against you b

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Microsoft has protected themselves. Their notices indicate that giving data to Azure is agreement to exporting the data. Thus Azure cannot store data for which export is illegal. Essentially they are in a terrible bind where USA law and European law conflict and now they are pushing against both with two different strategies.

      IMHO there is no chance they win their appeal in the USA federal courts. USA courts are not going to allow court ordered subpoenas to not be binding because the entity being subpoen

    • Microsoft's actions might seem "customer-centric," but really they're fighting for their lives.

      If MS can be forced to give up European data, stored on European servers, that's game over for them.
      Lawsuits and investigations will flourish in Europe, because their data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than ours.

      This could kill MS's European business.

      What largish Linux push in Europe was squashed in favor of MicroSoft products?

      Microsoft has a lot to lose if they ignore international law and act as
      the blind agent of a US court.

      China is working to replace all MS and Cisco software already as
      well as replace all Intel and other non-Chinese processors with their own
      chip designs. Their early hardware efforts have shown that there
      are few technical problems in their way to nationalize large markets.

  • by DarkFencer (260473) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:06PM (#47793133)

    I don't see them as customer-centric as much as self-serving. There is definitely a trend of non-US companies moving or thinking of moving their data off US servers. Moving them off US company/subsidiary servers in other countries is a huge threat to Nadella's cloud-focused Microsoft.

    It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

    • It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

      Of course it's "self interest", and more accuratly "self preservation". Micrsoft is a business that ultimatly has to answer to their stockholders. If it comes to pass that US "law enforcement" can reach out and get personal data from non-US servers, it will completely destroy Microsoft's European business, due the the much stricter data privacy laws in Europe. It would be "game over" for Microsoft in Europe.

      • by queazocotal (915608) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:20PM (#47793177)

        By a not too unreasonable extension of the theory that allows the judge to compel microsoft to deliver things they control on a computer in another country - I see no reason exactly the same would not apply to compelling them to deliver a personalised update to one particular computer and deliver access to that computer - wherever in the world it was, and whoever owned it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arbiter1 (1204146)
        Well its not just MS, ANY company. Google, Apple, etc would be effected by this as well.
        • Well its not just MS, ANY company. Google, Apple, etc would be effected by this as well.

          Of course. Which is why all the multi-nationals that you mention will weigh in with "Friend of the Court" briefs.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by zennyboy (1002544)
          *affected
        • Well its not just MS, ANY company. Google, Apple, etc would be effected by this as well.

          The technical solution would be to design their storage in such a way that it is _impossible_ for the company to read a customer's data.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

        Of course it's "self interest", and more accuratly "self preservation". Micrsoft is a business that ultimatly has to answer to their stockholders. If it comes to pass that US "law enforcement" can reach out and get personal data from non-US servers, it will completely destroy Microsoft's European business, due the the much stricter data privacy laws in Europe. It would be "game over" for Microsoft in Europe.

        No, it won't. Europeans will still have the same protections they do under their laws. However, US citizens committing a crime in the US won't be able to store their data on foreign servers of American companies and have it safe from authorities. In otherwords, if a US crime is committed, it doesn't matter where the US company hosts its server farm, it is still under the control of that company and subject to the authorities.

        If Microsoft wins this challenge, then there will be no server farms in the US beca

        • No, it won't. Europeans will still have the same protections they do under their laws. However, US citizens committing a crime in the US won't be able to store their data on foreign servers of American companies and have it safe from authorities. In otherwords, if a US crime is committed, it doesn't matter where the US company hosts its server farm, it is still under the control of that company and subject to the authorities.

          You are incorrect. the case would impact Europian Microsoft customers as well. Indeed, the account in question is almost certainly held by a non-American.

  • I think Microsoft is doing the right thing here. Did the feds forget to include the double-secret gag order with their request/demand? Proclaiming this demand far and wide is going to put it squarely in the public eye.

    Not that I personally have anything to worry about, as I always assume people are reading my emails. And being bored to tears by them.

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:45PM (#47793275) Journal
    ...anyone who seriously store sensitive information on a cloud service like free-email, should be spanked with a trout over and over again.
  • re I don't care (Score:5, Informative)

    by jelizondo (183861) <jerry...elizondo@@@gmail...com> on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:48PM (#47793291)

    Frankly, I don't care if MS is standing up out of self-interest or for some other cause, the tyrants in D.C. need to be stopped. Period.

    You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

    Many U.S. organizations have presence and pay taxes in many different jurisdictions, making them subject to that particular territory's law. Will the U.S. allow some other country to violate U.S. laws because the subsidiary is present, in say, Aman and thus, by extension, the entire organization is subject to Aman's Law?

    The answer is no, because jurisdiction is territorial. You can't apply Ireland's law to MS in the U.S. simply because they have a corporate office there, thus the reverse is true too: you can' t apply U.S. law to a subsidiary in Ireland.

    Who owns it is irrelevant; corporations are legal entities of their own, regardless of ownership. Ships owned by, say Americans (most cruise ships for example), are registered in Panama, thus bypassing U.S. Labor laws because who owns them is irrelevant.

    Trust me, you don't want to go there: it will open lawsuits against U.S. firms, under U.S. laws, against the owners of such ships and other corporations that use underage labor, exceed working hours / conditions, etc. in other countries.

    It would basically make International Law obsolete as we know it.

    It appears that the U.S. Government is bent in destroying the American economy while 'preserving' American security.

    • You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

      You can apply it to US citizens, no matter where they are in the world. There is plenty of legal precedent for this (you have to pay taxes on money made outside the US, for one example).

      You can also apply it to corporations.

    • The motives of MS are fairly clear, they want it to be ordered with no options before they give up. But in the same vein of "it does not matter who said it, as long as it rings true", I see this as a good and true test of the long arm of federal data interrogation.
      Does it really matter why? Their are not that many companies that can do this in a meaningful way. The fact that its Microsoft should not change the result that its being done. I have no particular love for them, but I do applaud them for making t

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      The answer is no, because jurisdiction is territorial. You can't apply Ireland's law to MS in the U.S. simply because they have a corporate office there, thus the reverse is true too: you can' t apply U.S. law to a subsidiary in Ireland.

      And yet Microsoft has no problem trying to apply US patent and copyright laws against foreign companies. The reality here is that if I was the criminal in question and stored the data on my personal computer in Ireland, the US would ask the Irish to sieze the physical computer and turn it over and they would. However, Microsoft isn't the criminal, they are just the email provider who happens to be storing emails related to the criminal activity and happens to store it in Ireland. So, the authroities have i

    • Quick caveat that needs to be made here: the US courts are free to request any data at all from Microsoft, and the onus is (as it should be) on Microsoft to deny the request if it would mean breaching a law. After all, what's the alternative? Have the government first make a request of Microsoft for the locations of where the data is being stored, then tell Microsoft, "hey, we checked, and the laws over there are totally cool with this request, so hand it over"? The system is working how it should: a reques

    • by Yakasha (42321)

      You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

      If a US Citizen goes elsewhere in the world to commit a crime, they can and do get prosecuted here for that crime. So your statement, as-is, is wrong. US Laws apply to the US, and all of its people (and businesses), regardless of where they are at the moment.

      Many U.S. organizations have presence and pay taxes in many different jurisdictions, making them subject to that particular territory's law.

      Other laws may apply as well, but that does not negate US law. But since you brought up taxes, that is another thing that gets paid here, regardless of where you happen to be or where you earned it. Some nations have treaties with the US that allow

  • Globalization (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmd (14060) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:51PM (#47793305)

    I'm suspecting the zeal MS is showing in challenging the US gov't has more to do with laying the groundword of "nation-states" being neutered. This is about power in the future. If they win against the US gov't this is just one more nail in the coffin of the battle to make governments useless. This goes hand in hand with the Trans Pacific and other trade agreements. These things are designed to strip power from government.

    This is just one more step in the march of capitalism that will likely destroy civilization in the long run.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would imagine it is laying groundwork for tax inversion.

      • Re:Globalization (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rsborg (111459) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:27PM (#47793427) Homepage

        I would imagine it is laying groundwork for tax inversion.

        I already replied in this argument, but this is probably the most insightful comment I've seen on this story. Setting up a very good reason why they should relocate their HQ for tax purposes (i.e., privacy of their files) seems a good PR move to offset any public outcry.

  • This is huge ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainDork (3678879) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:53PM (#47793315)

    People and businesses and governments everywhere will be watching this one.

    If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

    And, as mentioned, people, businesses and governments are already skeptical of the cloud, anyway.

    People, businesses and governments may force "data nationalism" to become the norm.

    • If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

      Germany can try. Or they can seize all Microsoft assets in Germany, and kick Microsoft out. Argentina recently did exactly that to a company from Spain.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

      Probably not. Microsoft is a USA company. OTOH they could do it for SAP Hana customers.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      People and businesses and governments everywhere will be watching this one.

      If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

      And, as mentioned, people, businesses and governments are already skeptical of the cloud, anyway.

      People, businesses and governments may force "data nationalism" to become the norm.

      They already can and have been doing so for years. If Microsoft wins, there will quickly be treatise signed with most countries allowing law enforcement to access data of their citizens suspected of criminal activity, just like happened with banking.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:01PM (#47793339) Homepage Journal

    The US needs to wake up to the fact that they are not "world law." Their law ends at the boundaries of the US.

    It doesn't matter if the email account in question is owned by an American. It doesn't matter if the servers are indirectly owned by an American company.

    They are in a foreign jurisdiction and the US government needs to go through the judicial and legal processes of that jurisdiction if they want access to the data.

    Quite frankly, fuck the "war on terror", the "war on drugs", and every other tired old excuse the US government and it's subservient courts use to try to justify shoving the US legal system down the world's throat.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      The US could take a page from the Russians on the whole issue of legal jurisdiction. The Russians have mandated that all corporate and personal data hosted by "the cloud" must be on servers on Russian soil so there is no question of legal jurisdiction when they're trying to investigate and prosecute a case involving a Russian entity.

      The US and every other nation should be doing the same thing: mandating that the data owned by their citizens and corporations be hosted in country so that it can't be "hidd

      • by dave562 (969951)

        This is already being done. I mentioned it in a previous post on this topic. I work for a company that does legal technology in both America and Europe. We had to stand up separate infrastructure in Europe to host data for our Europeans clients. They do not want their data coming anywhere near American servers.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      No it doesn't. Microsoft is a US entity. They aren't European. If you want European law then keep your data on European servers. Europe has a rich collection of local cloud providers. But you use Azure you are exporting your data to the USA.

      The USA doesn't shove their laws down other countries throats. You don't want USA law don't buy USA products.

      • by quenda (644621)

        No it doesn't. Microsoft is a US entity. They aren't European.

        MS is a multi-national. They could move their HQ to Ireland next week, for tax purposes, and not much would change.

        The USA doesn't shove their laws down other countries throats. You don't want USA law don't buy USA products.

        As slashdot readers should know, the USA frequently shoves its copyright laws for a start. The problem is not so much in buying USA products, as
        "If you want to be able to sell anything in the US market, here are a bunch of laws we need you to adopt before getting our 'free' trade agreement. "

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Nonsense. Microsoft is a multi-national conglomerate with seperate corporations/business entities scattered around the world. Those seperate entites are not US businesses, though they are owned by a US business, they are subject to the laws of the jurisdictions they operate in, not US law.

  • by debrain (29228) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:11PM (#47793363) Journal

    Notwithstanding some really rare cases (e.g. interlocutory), which this does not appear to be, an order is unenforceable while under appeal.

    Doing what an order asks is grounds for dismissal of an appeal, notwithstanding cases where acts are made explicitly with the agreement of the parties and sometimes affirmation of the court to be without prejudice to the right of appeal. However in cases of disclosure of information, the disclosure is generally a form of prejudice (since it cannot be undone) that undermines appellate entitlement.

    So it is wrong to say they are are defying an order. They are doing what everyone does on appeal.

    If they were to defy an order they could be held in contempt of court. That would be an interesting story.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @10:13PM (#47793581)

      Notwithstanding some really rare cases (e.g. interlocutory), which this does not appear to be, an order is unenforceable while under appeal.

      Doing what an order asks is grounds for dismissal of an appeal, notwithstanding cases where acts are made explicitly with the agreement of the parties and sometimes affirmation of the court to be without prejudice to the right of appeal. However in cases of disclosure of information, the disclosure is generally a form of prejudice (since it cannot be undone) that undermines appellate entitlement.

      So it is wrong to say they are are defying an order. They are doing what everyone does on appeal.

      If they were to defy an order they could be held in contempt of court. That would be an interesting story.

      Actually, the judge lifted the freeze on the court order, so Microsoft is in fact defying it. Microsoft states they plan to appeal, but until they do appeal, they are still defying it.

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:16PM (#47793381)
    This isn't altruistic of Microsoft but I'm happy they are putting up a fight just the same.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @10:13PM (#47793577)

    > Let there be no doubt that Microsoft's actions in this controversial case are customer-centric.

    Nonsense. It is protecting their millions, even billions of dollars of international business, especially for their hosted email services, to make a public display of fighting this court order. It also helps protect their US business: publicly refusing a US order helps provide a history of customer privacy awareness when they try to resist a Chinese or Russian or EU court order for US held data.

    And this is not an NSA "Patriot Act" order, which don't require judges and can be far, far broader than a typical search warrant or subpoena.

  • Maybe the US should suspend all Microsoft contracts it has while Microsoft refuses to comply with the court order.

  • I wonder if they will now turn it over to ISIS and AQ if they demand it?
  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:39AM (#47794883)

    ...Who is John Galt?

    Along with many other US companies and businesses as the US becomes an ever-more hostile and expensive place to base your business in.

    Maybe MS will join the "inversion"-stampede of businesses fleeing the US for friendlier locales.

    Once again the US government loads up the trusty foot-gun with its' hubris.

    Strat

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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