In December 2013, the U.S. government served a search warrant on Microsoft seeking access to customer emails stored in Dublin, Ireland, where Microsoft maintains a data center. Microsoft opposes the government’s demand on the grounds that the government can’t force American tech companies to turn over customer emails stored exclusively in overseas company data centers. Meanwhile, the government has argued that emails you store in the cloud cease to belong exclusively to you. To learn more about the case, which is currently under appeal, click the links below.

Microsoft Challenges Warrant

In April 2014, Microsoft challenged a search warrant from the U.S. government seeking access to customer emails stored on a server in Ireland. 

Appeal to District Court

In June 2014, Microsoft appealed the Magistrate Judge’s decision.

District Court Amicus Briefs

Business and privacy communities filed Amicus Briefs to the U.S. District Court.

European Perspective

In June 2014, the Vice President of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship of the European Commission expressed concern that the warrant’s extraterritorial application of foreign laws may be in breach of international law.

Riley v. California

In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the police must obtain a warrant from a court before searching a cellphone, explaining that an individual’s email account is an electronic “cache of sensitive personal information” that is entitled to the highest level of Constitutional privacy protection.  

District Court Hearing & Decision

In July 2014, a judge in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York heard Microsoft’s appeal and issued a ruling from the bench.

The LEADS Act

In September 2014, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) introduced the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, to clarify the limits of the government’s access to data abroad.

Appeal to Second Circuit

In December 2014, Microsoft filed its brief with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Second Circuit Amicus Briefs

Leading technology and media companies, academics, civil society organizations, and the Irish government filed 12 friend of the court briefs raising concerns about privacy protections for information stored in the cloud. 

Reintroduction of the LEADS Act

In February 2015, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) re-introduced the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, to clarify the limits of the government’s access to data stored abroad.