US authorities have issued a search warrant for a user’s email information on one of Microsoft’s data centers in Ireland. The company says it is fighting the order.
The New York Times states that this is the first instance of a company refusing a domestic search warrant for data held overseas. It’s also believed that Microsoft feel freer to reject a search warrant from the government now in a post-NSA leaks world.
Microsoft filed its complaint last Friday, saying “Congress has not authorized the issuance of warrants that reach outside U.S. territory.” The search warrant in question was granted by a court last December. Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith has previously been quoted as saying that the company would oppose any order from the government to hand over data stored overseas.
No information such as name or nationality of the person at the center of the search has been revealed.
Privacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have come out in support of Microsoft expressing their concerns. Verizon has even voiced its support. The NYT goes on to quote an expert on the matter as saying that overseas warrants such as these are very rare.