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US DOJ asks court to vacate stay in Microsoft email privacy case

John Ribeiro | Aug. 14, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a New York court to vacate a stay on an order that would require Microsoft to turn over to the government certain emails held abroad.

The company has held that courts in the U.S. are not authorized to issue warrants for extraterritorial search and seizure. It objected to the warrant issued by the magistrate judge under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, as it would authorize the U.S. government to search "any and all" of Microsoft's facilities worldwide, which besides violating international laws and treaties, would also spook customers outside the U.S. from using its cloud and other services.

Judge Francis held that a warrant under the Stored Communications Act, a part of the ECPA, was "a hybrid: part search warrant and part subpoena." It is executed like a subpoena in that it is served on the Internet service provider who is required to provide the information from its servers wherever located, and does not involve government officials entering the premises, he noted.

 

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