Microsoft is returning to court to challenge the US government’s demand that it hand over emails stored at an Irish data centre, which are alleged to contain details of narcotics sales.

Microsoft is suggesting that to hand them over would put it in breach of privacy laws, and argues that the government “must respect the sovereignty of other countries” and that Washington should use legal assistance treaties if it wants access to information held in Ireland and other data centres outside the US. Richard Anstey, CTO EMEA, Intralinks commented on the issue of data location, and the fundamental need to rethink current data privacy regulations.

[su_note note_color=”#ffffcc” text_color=”#00000″]Richard Anstey, CTO EMEA, Intralinks :

“This is a very significant test case on the importance of data’s physical location, striking at the very heart of important questions around data privacy. The result will have far-reaching implications for cloud providers and, indeed, any companies storing data in the cloud – which today is almost every company in the world, whether they’re aware of it or not. From a cloud provider’s standpoint however, customer requirements are always top of mind, and Microsoft is well within its rights to take a firm stance here given that current data privacy regulations are very much built for a paper age, and must be more fundamentally re-thought for the age of fast networks and cloud services.

“The thorny issue of data location raises the question of whether, in the cloud age, we should classify data based on its physical location at all, or whether we should consider other options, such as where the point of control of encryption resides – otherwise known as ‘logical’ location. The physical location of data is important because it is often used to help define the wider privacy problem. For some companies, keeping data on-premise, or in-country, gives data owners peace of mind. However, the technological reality is that control over decryption keys is what dictates who can see and use the information, not where it is stored. Over time, the ‘logical’ location of the data actually becomes more significant, as opposed to the notional physical location of an encrypted file.”[/su_note][su_box title=”About Intralinks” style=”noise” box_color=”#336588″]intralinksIntralinks Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: IL) is a leading, global technology provider of secure enterprise content collaboration solutions. Through innovative Software-as-a-Service solutions, Intralinks software is designed to enable the exchange, control and management of information between organisations securely and compliantly when working through the firewall. More than 3.1 million professionals at 99% of the Fortune 1000 companies have depended on Intralinks’ experience. With a track record of enabling high-stakes transactions and business collaborations valued at more than $28.1 trillion, Intralinks is a trusted provider of easy-to-use, enterprise strength, cloud-based collaboration solutions.[/su_box]

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