Microsoft Warns of Global Free-for-All if Forced to Hand FBI Emails on Irish Server

By   Information Security Buzz Editorial Staff
Chief Editor , Information Security Buzz | Sep 16, 2015 06:10 pm PST

Microsoft has warned a U.S. appeals court that if it is forced to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland, Internet user privacy worldwide would be demolished in a “global free-for-all.”

U.S. prosecutors chasing a drugs investigation sought a search warrant in the U.S. to access the files, but Microsoft thinks the action should be taking place on Ireland’s soil, where the information is stored:

Tripwire’s Director of IT Security and Risk Strategy, Tim Erlin, provided the following comments:

[su_note note_color=”#ffffcc” text_color=”#00000″]Tim Erlin, Director of IT Security and Risk Strategy, Tripwire

It’s tempting to think that data stored in the cloud isn’t really anywhere, but even the cloud is ultimately made up of bits on disk in some number of physical locations.  If your data is out there, then this is a case worth watching. While the details are more subtle than the current row about encryption, the repercussions of any precedent set will be widespread. Jurisdictional issues, definitions of custody and location all impact a myriad of current and future legal decisions.

Interestingly, if Microsoft was employing the same end-to-end encryption for this email content as Apple and Google have implemented on mobile devices, this court case would be a very different discussion.[/su_note]