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‘Victory for privacy’ as Microsoft wins email battle with US government


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Microsoft said the decision was a victory for privacy rights CREDIT: AP
Microsoft won’t be forced to turn over e-mails stored in Ireland to the US government for a drug investigation, an appeals court said in a decision that may affect data security throughout the US technology industry.

The ruling on Thursday overturned a 2014 decisionordering Microsoft to hand over messages of a suspected drug trafficker.

The company argued that would create a “global free-for-all” with foreign countries forcing companies to turn over evidence stored in the US. The government said a ruling in favor of Microsoft would create legal loophole to be exploited by fraudsters, hackers and drug traffickers.

The law doesn’t “authorise courts to issue and enforce against US-based service providers warrants for the seizure of customer e-mail content that is stored exclusively on foreign servers,” US Circuit Judge Susan Carney wrote for the majority of the New York appeals court.

The government is considering its options, Peter Carr, a spokesman for the US Department of Justice, said.

“Lawfully accessing information stored by American providers outside the United States quickly enough to act on evolving criminal or national security threats that impact public safety is crucial to fulfilling our mission to protect citizens and obtain justice for victims of crime,” Carr said.

Microsoft said the ruling is a win for the protection of people’s privacy rights under their own laws, rather than the reach of foreign governments. “This decision provides a major victory for the protection of people’s privacy rights under their own laws rather than the reach of foreign governments,” the company said.

“As a global company we’ve long recognised that if people around the world are to trust the technology they use, they need to have confidence that their personal information will be protected by the laws of their own country.”

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