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Microsoft snubs court order, says it will not release customer email to authorities

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Microsoft snubs court order, says it will not release customer email to authorities
Last month, the US District Court upheld a lower court ruling that Microsoft was required to adhere to a federal warrant for the software company to hand over a customer’s email messages which are stored in a data center that is physically in Ireland.

At the time, Microsoft said it would appeal the ruling, which was suspended temporarily due to a deluge of complaints from other international companies about the legality of search warrants in an international environment.

The judge, Loretta Preska, lifted the suspension on Friday on the premise that prosecutors convinced her that her ruling was not a “final, appealable order.” In effect, Microsoft is now obligated to hand over its customer’s email messages.

Microsoft is refusing to follow the order, pending its appeal to overturn the ruling. “Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal. Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen,” according to a Microsoft spokesman.

Judge Preska feels that since Microsoft controls the data from its US base of operations, the arguments of Ireland’s sovereignty, and imposing US law on a commodity that is located off shore, do not apply. Microsoft is not relenting, however.

Like nearly every high-visibility tech company, Microsoft did not fare well in the wake of the NSA spying scandal, and like nearly every high-visibility company since then, Microsoft has been on the offensive to restore customer faith in protecting customer data. AT&T, Apple, Cisco, and Verizon all chimed in with briefs supporting Microsoft during the last court proceedings. However, we wonder if any of them would outright defy a court order.

source: Reuters

41 Comments
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posted on 30 Aug 2014, 22:02 24

1. fzacek (Posts: 1848; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


Good move, Microsoft...

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 01:23 6

13. engineer-1701d (Posts: 1059; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Microsoft should be like ahh no u try again I delete your life from computers that I control around the world and u r no longer a judge lol

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 22:06 3

2. HASHTAG (Posts: 165; Member since: 31 Jan 2014)


And what is it that the U.S. Government want?

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 22:08 5

3. darkoman4 (Posts: 59; Member since: 30 May 2014)


Unfortunately, government will win, they always do.

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 22:21 5

4. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


This move is pure corporate self-defense. Microsoft is fighting to keep their company from having troublesome issues in Europe.

If Microsoft has to give up European data, stored on European servers, in violation of local data protection laws, that causes tremendous problems.

Lawsuits and investigations will follow quickly, because European data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than those in the USA.

It's an interesting case. I can see arguments on both sides.

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 23:25 2

7. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5850; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


The only reason for MS defying the court order is that if they give up the data, they can kiss their EU business goodbye. Behind the scenes, MS is furiously lobbying to have the subpoena voided.

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 23:32 1

9. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


I agree that Microsoft is worried, but I think the business damage worries are exaggerated. Certainly, there will be some blowback, but realistically any business with data in the cloud in any country should know their data is completely insecure.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 03:10 1

20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5850; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


MS is trying to sell cloud security to EU clients. The servers were physically located in Ireland as part of the security pitch. Turning over data stored on servers physically located in Ireland would vitiate the notion of the MS cloud being secure from Uncle Samuel. Right after they turned over the data, MS would be shutting down their international cloud business for lack of security.

Further, any EU business that remained on the MS cloud after MS were to turn over data from servers based in Ireland would probably be found to be in violation of EU privacy regulations.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 01:05 3

11. muhsen (Posts: 259; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)


kiss their EU business goodbye ???? some comments here amaze me...... MS is actually controlling the whole Enterprise world including Goverment businesses in EU (ehm...that's why every single EU country in the top EU5 came crawling paying billions of local currency for more Win XP support until they upgrade to Win 7/8.1). Not making such move wouldn't make a dent in their EU business.
some people here are taking some companies as a religion and commenting according to what they believe not to real world material

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 01:14 4

12. muhsen (Posts: 259; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)


If it's indeed "pure corporate self-defense", why isn't every other tech company making such move??. MS situation applies to all other tech companies including big boys like Google, Apple, Yahoo. Facebook...etc, but MS is the only one defying court. Actually MS is the strongest among the pack ( making it the most one to not really care) thanks to controlling the enterprise and government business in EU and many other regions. No offence but ur theory is pretty much flawed.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 02:05 1

16. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"why isn't every other tech company making such move??"

Because ONLY Microsoft is in this particular court case.

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 22:28 4

5. 13Elves (Posts: 92; Member since: 21 Feb 2014)


Such BS! This is the same MSFT that had no problems violating a Hotmails users rights by digging thru his email acct w/o permission in order to find an alleged leaker.

Pure PR nonsense!

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 23:17 5

6. nlbates66 (Posts: 301; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


Looks like you might need to do some searching to get your facts straight. :-)

posted on 30 Aug 2014, 23:26 4

8. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Are you referring to how Microsoft says one thing -- "we don't look through your email" -- then does another thing -- "we go through every message in the system, looking for leakers, child porn, law breakers, people with good IP to steal, etc."?

Microsoft is a zero integrity company. They talk up a storm about their moral superiority all the while they are stabbing you in the back.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 00:56 4

10. muhsen (Posts: 259; Member since: 07 Jun 2012)


Well, every single company is "a zero integrity company", if u think otherwise, then there's no point arguing with u. Google is worse, defying every privacy right (their Gmaps cars have been proven collecting wifi data from routers, digging through ur gmail and spamming it with ads according to ur emails.......etc) and Apple is always in the FU mode (iPhone faults, iPad heat issues, the famous iphone antennagate....etc. PR BS or not, at least MS defied that court order making them the best of the worst, go ahead and deny that

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 01:44 6

14. joey_sfb (Posts: 3001; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


"Every single company has zero integrity" yet Google is worse.

Show how bias you posting is. What you said above apply to all tech companies. I paid Microsoft and Apple money to use their OS and services and yet they till do what Google does which offer their services for free.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 01:59 2

15. ihavenoname (Posts: 1428; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


M$ best of the worst? Well, they at least succeeded to make you believe so.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 02:06 2

18. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"M$ best of the worst? Well, they at least succeeded to make you believe so."

Monthly "reputation management" paychecks go a long way to establishing a veritable army of those who "believe" in Microsoft.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 02:10 2

19. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"MS defied that court order making them the best of the worst"

Microsoft did nothing but promote their self-interest. Only a paid shill would think this is some sort of moral statement.

For the record, Microsoft has been spying on their customers, stealing from their customers, screwing over their customers, screwing over their partners, and selling customers out to the government for decades. Before Google even existed. So your "best of the worst" theory is nothing more than shill BS.

posted on 04 Sep 2014, 08:25

41. 13Elves (Posts: 92; Member since: 21 Feb 2014)


No, MSFT was hunting down a leak in their company and searched a man's Hotmail for the source of the leak w/o his permisson. They willfuly violated a users privacy for their own ends.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 02:05 3

17. farzad_funny (Posts: 43; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


Good Guy Microsoft

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 07:13 1

21. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


More BS PR stunts from MS. They were happy to hand over our info to the govt before....

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 07:50 5

22. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2040; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Whatever MS does, you haters come up with some sh*t about them. Never mind, enjoy handing over your info to Scroogle, while they happily jock NSA.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 08:35 6

23. Liveitup (Posts: 1320; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


They're paid trolls, bashing MS regardless of what it does is a part of their job.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 08:44 2

24. joey_sfb (Posts: 3001; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


I can say the same about you. Liveitup.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 08:58

26. Pattyface (Posts: 359; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)


Does that make his statement any less true? Typical child trying to deflect what was said onto someone else

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 09:18 2

27. joey_sfb (Posts: 3001; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


My point it's as valid as before. I pay Microsoft $299 for window 8 pro and yet they sell my private data to advertisers by the same standard as Google.

This is just being greedy. Child my ass, ok! You can be MS fan as much as you like. I avoiding to pay them as much as possible.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 11:29 2

31. elitewolverine (Posts: 1700; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


If you use windows 8, and dont use an email login, then no they dont.

You pay google to use android, you pay google to use a chromebook.

When you sign up for emails through ms, then you get ads sure, you are not paying 299 (which it is 139 now btw), to get ads (cause you dont). As well you can get premium outlook account through MS and never get ads in your email too.

Not to mention you get free support, live, chat or phone, remote desktop support too.

With your comment it makes people really question how much you understand between google and ms

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 14:22 1

36. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"If you use windows 8, and dont use an email login, then no they dont."

Not true. With Windows 8.1, all of Microsoft's tracking features are active whether or not you have a Microsoft account.

Same goes with Office 2013 and probably all Microsoft's products. In Office 2013, it will actually send your documents to Microsoft, violating every reasonable assumption of privacy and information security a person or corporation might have.

You like to say Microsoft is some morally superior corporation, but this is just laughable. This is a company that makes its existence stealing technology (as documented in Infoworld recently), being a patent troll (documented all over the web), funding attacks on open source (see the former Groklaw site), etc. One could go on and write books upon books about the misdeeds of Microsoft. In short, they are an evil, parasitical, monopoly that the world would be better off without.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 19:14 2

38. joey_sfb (Posts: 3001; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Android/Chrome device will always be cheaper than their Windows counterpart as hardware manufacturer don't have to pay Google licenses for its use. But there will always be $100 or more overheard on Windows device as Microsoft continues to charge for licenses. So the consume still pay for x86 windows licenses.

I build my own DIY gaming desktop and I still need to pay $299 for their retail windows 8 pro license.

Microsoft are such hypocrite, and even the EU Commissioner said so when they are not happy with their findings. Microsoft complaint about Google on search advertising revenue. IMAGINE THAT! they want a cake and eat it too!. They happily took my money and still stab me in the back by selling my private data.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10624447/EU-Commissioner-hits-back-at-Microsoft-over-Google-complaints.html

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 10:13 3

29. Liveitup (Posts: 1320; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


Actually you can't, if so show me the example of myself trolling. There is a major difference between fans and trolls.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 14:02 2

35. sbw44 (Posts: 393; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


Ignore these idiots, they are the fans and we the trolls but I dont see you or other wp fans comment on android articles but these idiots are permanently on wp articles and yet they label us as trolls? F**king hilarious!!!!

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 19:25 2

39. joey_sfb (Posts: 3001; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Liveitup, as requested.

EU commissioner also state that Microsoft play dirty.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10624447/EU-Commissioner-hits-back-at-Microsoft-over-Google-complaints.html

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 14:24 1

37. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3252; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"They're paid trolls, bashing MS regardless of what it does is a part of their job."

You are confusing your job as a MS shill with everyone else, Fakeitup. Not everyone has a shill job, just you and your cronies on this site and other sites. Microsoft's paid "reputation management" is well documented, so stop denying reality.

The rest of us post about a variety of different topics and platforms and companies because we are real users. We use facts instead of wild assertions about the moral superiority of a company that has been well proven to have no morals whatsoever.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 08:56 1

25. Pattyface (Posts: 359; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)


Lol effing trollers smh. Regardless of which way Microsoft goes you find a way to hate on them. Not only did Microsoft in the past give up info without a fight but so did your precious Google. Stop being complete idiotic fanboys, you guys are pathetic and shallow.
No on to the story, I believe Microsoft will ultimately loss this one but I'm glad they are making it difficult for the government.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 09:36 3

28. Planterz (Posts: 883; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


The government likely already has the emails, but they need a "legal" way of obtaining them so they can be admissible in court.

Microsoft is absolutely in the right to fight this.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 11:04

30. xondk (Posts: 113; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


This topic are odd if you ask me.

The government will win? really? I do not see it
Basically the US government seems to be trying to get emails that belong to EU people on an EU server. Unless I've misunderstood something.
If the server was stationed somewhere to shelter it from legal stuff, but was used for handling information from/on people that weren't from the place the server is sheltered, then yes, sure, then there could be a talk about a court order to make them give them the info.
But a case where its an EU server containing information about EU users, then if the US government wants the info, they need to go through EU to get it, its that simple.
The US or any other country or such, would be furious if someone from outside them came and demanded stuff they had, so how the heck can the courts be surprised that there is a backlash from EU?

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 11:34

32. zacsaturday (Posts: 32; Member since: 09 May 2014)


I see apple and microsoft ganging up on google/android in the nearby future

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 13:27

33. Liveitup (Posts: 1320; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


What made you say that.

posted on 31 Aug 2014, 13:59 1

34. sbw44 (Posts: 393; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


Why not? Doesnt matter how you fandroids try to spin this, google is the worst of them all

posted on 01 Sep 2014, 00:56

40. joey_sfb (Posts: 3001; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


There no need to deny what we say is based on fact.

Microsoft is a convicted monopolist and still a tech bully.

http://www.google.com.sg/search?hl=en-US&ie=UTF-8&source=android-browser&q=Microsoft+is+a+tech+bully&gfe_rd=cr&ei=QwoEVOmpEYaM8QevwoGQDg

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