A federal appeals court handed a major win to Microsoft when it ruled that US authorities cannot compel US tech companies to disclose e-mail content that they store on servers located outside the United States.
The case arises from Microsoft’s refusal to comply with a warrant obtained by US law enforcement authorities seeking production of Microsoft customer e-mails stored on servers maintained by Microsoft’s affiliate in Ireland. In a highly-anticipated decision, issued July 14, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the long-standing limitation of US warrants to searches and seizures of information located in the United States applies equally to data stored in the “cloud.” Therefore, the court found that the data stored in Ireland was beyond the reach of US law enforcement authorities. See In re Warrant to Search a Certain Email Account Controlled & Maintained by Microsoft Corp., Case No. 14-2985 (2d Circuit July 14, 2016).