U.S. Bill Would Ban DoJ Warrant for Email in Overseas Microsoft Server
NEWS ANALYSIS: U.S. legislators are backing a bill that would ban the use of warrants to grab data in overseas computers, the same type of warrant Microsoft is currently fighting.
Microsoft's troubles with the U.S. Department of Justice would come to an immediate end with the passage of the LEADS Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 12. The bill, known more formally as the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, would among other things put a stop to the Justice Department's demand that Microsoft turn over emails stored on a server overseas. The LEADS Act would allow law enforcement officials to get access to electronic data on the same basis as other material that's held in non-electronic form. Briefly this means that for law enforcement to get access to data stored outside the U.S., the request must either use a mutual assistance treaty or it must belong to a U.S citizen. Currently, the Justice Department is trying to get email messages belonging to a European Union citizen that are stored on a server in Ireland. This is the second time the Senate has considered the LEADS Act, which was originally introduced last fall, but Congress adjourned for the year before it could go to a vote. The bill was introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; and Sen Dean Heller, R-Nev.
The House of Representatives is readying a similar bill that been co-sponsored by more than half of the members of that body, although it has yet to be formally introduced on the House floor.