U.S. Judge Rules Against Microsoft’s (MSFT) Data Privacy Battle

A New York court ruled Thursday against Microsoft’s efforts to oppose a U.S. search warrant demanding that email data from the company’s data center in Dublin, Ireland be turned over to U.S. authorities.

Following a two-hour court hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska rejected Microsoft’s argument that the feds don’t have the right to seize customer data held overseas. In an oral ruling from the bench the judge disagreed, saying: “It is question of control, not a question of the location of the information”.

Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief lawyer Brad Smith, who argued in court that the warrant should be nullified because it would give U.S. prosecutors excessive power to pry over private information, vowed to battle on in the case, saying the software giant will appeal Preska’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

“The only issue that was certain this morning was that the district court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process,” Smith said in a statement. “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the U.S. and around the world.”

Microsoft’s case is being closely watched and backed by companies like Verizon Communications (VZ), AT&T (T), and recently Apple (AAPL) and Cisco (CSCO), who are eager to assure their users around the world that their private information is not being freely shared with the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a Wall Street Journal article last Tuesday, Smith warned that “If the US government prevails in reaching into other countries’ data centres, other governments are sure to follow. One already is. Earlier this month the British government passed a law asserting its right to require tech companies to produce emails stored anywhere in the world. This would include emails stored in the US by Americans who have never been to the UK.”

If Microsoft loses the appeal all the *companies mentioned above as well as others will likely lose billions of dollars in revs as the Cloud business for all USA base cloud providers will get killed, Logically, who in the right mind is gonna risk putting their data on *their infrastructure.

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