Microsoft will not comply with order to give up emails

Judge lifts suspension of search warrant for user e-mails, but Microsoft will appeal the ruling

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 30, 2014
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Microsoft was one of the many tech companies implicated by Edward Snowden last year in Prism program, in which it was accused of allowing the U.S. government, to essentially, take whatever data it wanted on any of its users.

Now, like many others who were implicated, the company is fighting hard to reverse that image through both more transparency and public displays of defiance against government snooping. Microsoft is currently in a big fight with the United States government to keep their hands off user e-mails. 

The company told numerous new outlets that it will not comply with a ruling from a judge on Friday, which lifted a suspension on an order for Microsoft to overturn e-mails that are being held in a data center in Ireland. The company will be appealing the ruling. 

"Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters on Friday. "Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen."

In a document filed on Friday, and obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said she had affirmed a previous ruling at the end of July, agreeing that the it did not matter where the e-mail was being saved due to the fact that all Microsoft computers are controlled within the United States.

Preska herself had delayed the government from enforcing its search warrant, giving Microsoft time to appeal. Prosecutors, however, challenged the stay on the ground that the order she gave was not final, and because she had not found Microsoft guilty of being in contempt of court.

Preska agreed on these points, and so she lifted her stay. Both sides have until September 5th to advise the court on how to proceed going forward.

The case in question involves the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaing Microsoft to gain access to the e-mail account of an unknown individual. 

Because the e-mails are stored overseas, Microsoft is accusing the U.S. government of overstepping its bounds, and is fighting to not have to overturn them.

According to Reuters, other tech companies are on Microsoft's side, with AT&T, Apple, Cisco Systems and Verizon Communications all submitting briefs supporting Microsoft's opposition to the warrant.

VatorNews has reached out to Microsoft for further comment. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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