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Microsoft Faces Off Against United States Government Over Privacy Laws

Anybody who pays attention to the news will know that Microsoft is certainly no stranger to controversies regarding the privacy of its customers; the most recent incidents involve the Windows 10 operating system. It is a point often made in internet forums that often transcends whatever Microsoft product people are arguing about.

With that in mind it may surprise you to know that Microsoft is challenging a demand from the US government that the company turn over emails stored at a data center located in Ireland. The government believes that the emails contain details regarding illegal sales of narcotics. A court ruling last year says that the United States government has jurisdiction over Microsoft because the company’s headquarters are located within US borders. Conversely, Microsoft states that simply handing over the emails may itself be a violation of Ireland’s privacy laws and that the US government will have to use legal assistance treaties to gain access to the emails. For the record, Ireland has indicated that it is willing to consider such a request. “If the US government is permitted to serve warrants on tech companies in the United States and obtain people’s emails in any country, it will open the floodgate for other countries to serve warrants on tech companies for the private communications of American citizens that are stored in the United States in a data centre owned by a foreign company,” said Brad Smith, an attorney working for Microsoft on this case.

This case is worth watching as it will set a significant legal precedent over international privacy concerns. TiCGN will report on any new developments regarding this case.

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