Ireland Weighs In to Support Microsoft in Email Privacy Case
Ireland joins a growing list of Microsoft supporters as the software giant battles the U.S. government's efforts to obtain data on overseas servers.Microsoft has gathered some powerful allies in its ongoing legal battle against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the case involving emails stored in a data center in Ireland. Now, that country's government is lending its support. On July 31, Manhattan's U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ordered Microsoft to turn over Outlook.com emails stored on servers in Ireland to the DOJ. Microsoft appealed the decision on Dec. 8. In its court filing, the company argued that the emails in question "are located exclusively on a computer in Dublin, where they are protected by Irish and European privacy laws." Days after Apple, Amazon, Cisco and HP joined scores of trade organizations, technology firms and media companies to support Microsoft, Ireland's government is lending its perspective on a case that could have implications for cloud services providers. "The Government of Ireland and a member of the European Parliament weighed in separately with the court considering our case challenging a U.S. search warrant for customer email stored in Ireland," Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs, announced in a Dec. 23 statement. Both Ireland's government and the member of the European Parliament recently filed amicus curiae, or friend of the court, briefs to stake out their positions.
Ireland's government asserts in its Dec. 23 friend of the court brief that its lack of participation during the U.S. court proceedings does not constitute a waiver of the country's sovereignty rights. "Ireland does not accept any implication that it is required to intervene into foreign court proceedings to protect its sovereign rights in respect of its jurisdiction, or that Ireland not intervening is evidence of consent to a potential infringement thereof," said the document.