The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a decision that affirmed the right of a magistrate to issue a warrant forcing U.S. companies to turn over data stored outside the United States. The Appeals court definitively stated that:
…the Stored Communications Act does not authorize courts to issue and enforce against U.S. based service providers warrants for the seizure of customer e-mail content that is stored exclusively on foreign servers.
Since Microsoft was ordered to turn over data housed in the Irish data center, U.S. companies have faced a dilemma: following the laws of the countries where data was stored; or complying with judicial process in the U.S. This unexpected victory will help restore confidence in the integrity of U.S. providers, and remove calls around the world to take similar action.
i2Coalition Public Policy Chair David Snead issued the following statement. “The i2Coalition is proud of our role in overturning the District Court’s decision. We filed an amicus brief in this matter arguing that the magistrate who authorized the warrant overstepped his authority under the law, and in particular the Stored Communications Act. While the Department of Justice is likely to appeal, this decision strongly supports our decision to become involved in the amicus process. Further, it strengthens our position that government access to data must be handled on a global, versus country-by-country, basis."