US Judge Says Microsoft Can’t Stop DOJ From Looking At Emails

Kate Patrick Contributor
Font Size:

A U.S. judge ruled Microsoft is not allowed to stop the Department of Justice from looking at emails stored overseas, according to CNet.

The ruling is in accordance with a December 2013 warrant which allows the Department of Justice to access emails stored in non-U.S. databases. The warrant was originally issued because the DOJ wanted access to some Microsoft emails during a criminal investigation, according to CNet.

Microsoft contested the warrant in a June 2014 court filing: “The government takes the extraordinary position that by merely serving such a warrant on any U.S.-based email provider, it has the right to obtain the private emails of any subscriber, no matter where in the world the data may be located, and without the knowledge or consent of the subscriber or the relevant foreign government where the data is stored.” (RELATED: Obama Administration Claims Right To Access U.S. Company Data Overseas)

Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith believes the case is an important battle over privacy rights.

“The only issue that was certain this morning was that the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process,” Smith said in an emailed statement to TheDC. “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the U.S. and around the world.”

CNet reported that the court order is temporarily stayed, which means Microsoft may appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Follow Kate on Twitter