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Apple, EFF and AT&T back Microsoft’s no overseas warrants stance

All fancy a ‘hands-off’ regulatory approach
Mon Jun 16 2014, 10:36
A single cloud floating in a clear blue sky

APPLE, CISCO, AT&T and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have joined Microsoft' campaign against US warrants on data held on Irish servers.

Apple, Cisco and AT&T reportedly filed amicus curiae briefs, and the EFF has released a statement. It said that it is joining Microsoft's case and warns that letting the warrants go ahead will have some very bad implications for privacy.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged a federal court to block a US search warrant ordering Microsoft to turn over a customer's emails held in an overseas server, arguing that the case has dangerous privacy implications for Internet users everywhere," it said on Friday.

"The Fourth Amendment protects from unreasonable search and seizure. You can't ignore the 'seizure' part just because the property is digital and not physical," added EFF staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury in the organisation's support for Microsoft's effort to quash the warrant.

"Ignoring this basic point has dangerous implications - it could open the door to unfounded law enforcement access to and collection of data stored around the world."

Last week Microsoft told The INQUIRER that it will fight this until the end.

"We're continuing to challenge this search warrant in the courts as promised on behalf of our customers who expect and deserve basic privacy rights," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "The US government can't execute a search warrant in other countries, and we don't believe it has the authority to ask Microsoft to do what it can't."

Verizon joined the campaign last week, its motives are the same and its message similar.

"The magistrate's decision in this case allowed the United States government to use a warrant to compel Microsoft to produce a customer's e-mail stored overseas. Verizon believes that decision was wrong: The law does not allow the US government to use a search warrant to obtain customer data stored overseas," said Randal S. Milch, Verizon EVP of public policy and general counsel.

"We think the decision was wrong when applied to an e-mail service provider; it would be even more wrong to apply the same logic to customers' data stored in cloud data centers outside the United States."

We have asked Apple and AT&T to confirm their reported support for the campaign. µ


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