Microsoft is no stranger to legal battles, most notably with an anti-trust suit in the US and ongoing problems with the EU. But the company recently stood up to a court attempting to strong-arm user data which happens to be stored on foreign soil — Ireland in this particular case. This obviously brings about implications that many would wish were not present. Mainly that the US court system can exert control over foreign locations.
The case has been to court, and Microsoft so far has not fared well in the hearings. The company is continuing its fight and persisting with its refusal to hand over the data, which the US technically may have no legal right to, as the company claims.
Things have now grown worse, as the software giant has been held in contempt of court over this issue. According to a report from Naked Security, a site operated by trusted firm Sophos, “Microsoft and the US government have agreed that the company will be held in contempt for its refusal to hand over email stored in the cloud at its Dublin data center but won’t be fined or punished, giving it a chance to appeal a court order to cough up a customer’s communications”.
The company lost the case a week ago and, on August 29th, it officially refused to hand over the data. Much of this stems from the recent leaks by Edward Snowden regarding NSA activity, which resulted in many tech companies being implicated in the mess.
Now Microsoft wishes to make good, attempting to prove that it stands up for its users. In this case it’s making a real stand. Sophos concludes with a simple question, which sums things up — “Is this a misuse of the Fourth Amendment, or do we simply have to suck it up and deal with the fact that all bets are off — not only with regards to security/privacy, but also when it comes to the US court system?” It makes you wonder.