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Court Orders Microsoft to Return Data Stored Overseas to US

A US judge has ordered Microsoft return all the data it stores outside the US to servers in the country. This could be a blow for privacy protection in the US as well as for those businesses with data storage operations. The decision, based on a case in which a search warrant for email related to a narcotics case that is stored in Ireland, was rendered based on the court’s finding that because the US-based Microsoft controls the data it stores overseas, its foreign subsidiaries are equally subject to US law. US District Judge Loretta Preska in New York said the ruling will be stayed to let Microsoft appeal the decision. She said the issue “is a question of control, not a question of the location of the information.” Microsoft challenged the ruling, saying local laws must apply in each jurisdiction. Stated Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the US and around the world.” Apple, AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Verizon Communications and AT&T have supported Microsoft’s position via amicus briefs. In the European Union, authorities contend that regardless of where an EU-based company's parent firm is based, that subsidiary must abide by European law. (ZDNet)(Associated Press @ San Jose Mercury News)(Reuters)

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