A U.S. Federal court ruled in favor of Microsoft in a privacy case involving whether the government can request access to information stored on servers outside the United States.
Judge Susan Carney of the U.S Court of Appeals ruled that the Stored Communication Act only applies to information stored in the United States.
This decision reversed a court order dating back in 2014 requesting that Microsoft give up emails stored in Ireland for use in a drug case.
According to Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, this decision is important for three reasons: it ensures that people’s privacy rights are protected by laws of their own countries, it ensures legal protections of the physical world apply in the digital domain, and it helps pave the way for better solutions to address both law enforcement and privacy needs.
Microsoft has not been alone in this fight, with vast numbers of tech companies, trade associations, advocacy groups and computer scientists supporting them in its legal battle.
This landmark decision confirms that the government is in no position to request a service provider reach over national borders to hand over data at the expense of customer privacy.