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Microsoft Communications Government Privacy The Courts

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 @07:04PM (#47793117)
    Isn't there a NSA backdoor to MS?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:06PM (#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?

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

    by CaptainDork (3678879) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:53PM (#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.

  • Re:Globalization (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:56PM (#47793327)

    I would imagine it is laying groundwork for tax inversion.

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:18PM (#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].

  • Re:Globalization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsborg (111459) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:27PM (#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.

  • Re:customer-centric (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:29PM (#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?

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

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:33PM (#47793459)

    Its an American's data stored under a European account in European servers.

    Perhaps. But if it was an American, residing on European soil, there would be extradition procedures to follow. And those would involve having the local (EU) police generate their own warrant and make their own arrest based upon a formal request. The aprehended suspect would then be turned over to the requesting country.

    The same sort of thing should happen here. The USA should make a formal request to the Irish court to secure the evidence and turn it over to US authorities.

    That is true, but it's not about an American, but an American's data that is in question. You can only extridte people. If an American only needs to store their data in a foreign country to keep from complying with a warrant, then every criminal organization will do that. What the court is saying is that jurisdiction follows whoever has control over the data, which in this case is Microsoft, but could just as easily be drug cartel or terrorist group.

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

    by Whatsisname (891214) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:24PM (#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.

  • Re:customer-centric (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @10:13PM (#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 Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @05:27AM (#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.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @07:30AM (#47794857)

    Pick two or three compilers from different sources. It's okay if they are all trojaned.
    Compile each compiler with the other two compilers. Unless they are all trojaned in precisely the same way, including exactly the right cross-trojans for each other, you can see which one(s) can be trusted.

    https://www.schneier.com/blog/... [schneier.com]

    Other defenses are also available. If you don't have the source to the compiler, you write a loop that automatically builds up the program line by line from "return 1". If adding one line of ansi C code adds several kilobytes of binary, there's a problem. Inspect the newly added portion using your choice of tool.

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