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Microsoft’s digital privacy fight heads to the Supreme Court this week

Microsoft’s digital privacy fight heads to the Supreme Court this week
[Photo: Caspar Rubin/Unsplash]

On Tuesday the highest court in the land will hear arguments from Microsoft and the Trump administration over whether a decades-old law called the 1986 Stored Communications Act gives the government the right to access cloud data stored in other countries by U.S. companies, reports Bloomberg. Since 2013 the government has been trying to get Microsoft to turn over an email it says shows evidence of drug trafficking. The issue is that Microsoft stores that email on a server in Ireland–and thus says that federal law cannot compel it to hand over a user’s data when that data is stored in another country.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, says that it’s not trying to apply federal law overseas: It served Microsoft a warrant at its Redmond headquarters and disclosures of the email would happen within U.S. borders as well. Privacy advocates say that if the court sides with the Trump administration it will invite other foreign governments to demand that data of American citizens held by foreign companies with servers on U.S. soil be released to them. Among the tech companies backing Microsoft’s stance are Google, Apple, and Amazon.

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