THE IRISH GOVERNMENT spoken out against 'objectionable' US attempts to seize cloud data stored on Microsoft servers in Ireland, in a case that could have major implications for the cloud market.
Minister for data protection Dara Murphy said that if Microsoft eventually hands over the data, despite so far refusing to do so, it will set a precedent that could cause serious problems for cloud providers across the European Union (EU).
"This would create significant legal uncertainty for Irish and EU consumers and companies regarding the protection of their data, which, in this digital age, is everyone's most valuable asset," he said.
Murphy said that he met with members of the European Commission (EC) to discuss the case and has conferred with the Irish Office of the Attorney General to consider the implications of the ruling.
"As the EU's only member state with a minister with the specific portfolio of data protection, Ireland is determined to be at the fore of these efforts and, in this regard," he added.
Murphy said that Ireland and the US enjoy a good working relationship on issues such as data transfers, so he found the methods being used to gain access to the information questionable.
"Cooperation in the area of law enforcement is a fundamental element of our international relations, in particular with our partners in the US, which is why the issue of the transfer of the data itself is not objectionable, but rather the process that is being utilised."
The comments come a few days after US Judge Loretta Preska removed a stay on her initial order that had temporarily halted any move to force Microsoft to hand over the data. Microsoft now faces a possible contempt of court charge if it refuses to comply with the latest ruling.
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