NEW YORK/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Corporate lobbyists, news organisations and academics joined forces with Microsoft Corp on Monday in the software company’s legal battle with the US government over access to customer data stored overseas.
The diverse set of interests filed briefs with a federal appeals court in New York, urging it to reverse a judge’s order that Microsoft turn over emails from a data center in Ireland. They argued that turning them over would jeopardise the future of international cloud computing.
The case has taken on urgency for tech and media companies in the wake of revelations about bulk electronic data collectionby the US National Security Agency from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Technology companies including and AT&T Inc and even rival Apple Inc also filed briefs supporting Microsoft’s bid to fend off a government search warrant for the emails.
Microsoft began fighting the warrant in 2013, saying that US prosecutors were overreaching by demanding data held in a foreign country without the assistance of local authorities. It is not known whose emails are sought, but prosecutors said they wanted them for a drug investigation.
The prosecutors said their demand did not violate Irish sovereignty because Microsoft’s US employees had control of the emails and could retrieve them without going to Ireland. In July, US District Judge Loretta Preska agreed and ordered Microsoft to comply.