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

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

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41 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Good move, Microsoft...

13. engineer-1701d unregistered

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

2. HASHTAG unregistered

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

3. darkoman4

Posts: 181; Member since: May 30, 2014

Unfortunately, government will win, they always do.

4. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

7. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

9. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

20. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

11. muhsen

Posts: 281; Member since: Jun 07, 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

12. muhsen

Posts: 281; Member since: Jun 07, 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.

16. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"why isn't every other tech company making such move??" Because ONLY Microsoft is in this particular court case.

5. 13Elves

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 21, 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!

6. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

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

8. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

10. muhsen

Posts: 281; Member since: Jun 07, 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

14. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

15. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

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

18. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

19. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

41. 13Elves

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 21, 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.

17. farzad_funny

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

Good Guy Microsoft

21. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

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

22. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 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.

23. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

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

24. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I can say the same about you. Liveitup.

26. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

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

27. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

31. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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

36. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

38. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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

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