Microsoft Joins DoJ Seeking Dismissal of Data Privacy Case
Microsoft has joined the U.S. government in asking the Supreme Court to dismiss a case the two parties argued before the high court. Both the Redmond tech giant and the Department of Justice agree that a recent act passed by Congress makes the court case, which concerns cross-border digital privacy, a moot point.
The Justice Department filed a motion late last week asking for the case to be dismissed. In a reply Tuesday, Microsoft said it would not oppose the motion.
Microsoft had refused in 2013 to turn over data from a customer's email address that the government was seeking in connection with a narcotics case. At the time, Microsoft said because the data was stored digitally in Ireland, the U.S. government would need to work with Irish authorities to obtain it.
The current law on the books at the time, Microsoft argued, did not set out regulations for accessing digital information stored internationally. That law was written in 1986 and many groups, from tech companies to privacy organizations, had called for an update.
Congress passed an update, the Cloud Act, as part of its huge spending bill late last month. The act sets out a process for the U.S. government to obtain information held overseas, and for nations to make data-sharing agreements.
Digital privacy organizations have challenged the law, saying it protects companies and governments but not consumers.
With the passage of the Cloud Act, the Justice Department issued a new warrant for the information held in Ireland under the new law, Microsoft said in its court filing Tuesday. The company will evaluate the new warrant, it said.
Even some Supreme Court justices seemed to think that the issue should be addressed by Congress, according to their comments when they heard oral arguments from Microsoft and the Trump administration in February.
The Supreme Court had been expected to issue a ruling in June.
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