European Union Expresses Concern About Microsoft Email Privacy Case
NEWS ANALYSIS: The European Union plans to extend its privacy laws to apply to all companies doing business in the EU, regardless of whether they are located there or overseas.A European Commission spokesperson told eWEEK that the body is extremely concerned about a court decision in New York that orders Microsoft to turn over the contents of email contained on a server in Ireland to federal prosecutors. That decision would appear to place Microsoft in direct violation of Irish and European Union data protection laws. Federal Judge Loretta Preska said in her July 31 decision that the location of the data doesn't matter, but what matters is where the data is controlled. The European Union would differ on that view, it appears. In interviews with eWEEK, officials with the Irish government and the European Commission say that it's against their laws for Microsoft to divulge such data, regardless of any U.S. warrant. Microsoft has said that doing so would cause serious harm to U.S. companies and that it doesn't believe the warrant in question is constitutional. A spokesperson for the European Commission (the EC is the executive branch of the European Union) told eWEEK in an email that the commission has already raised its concern about this case with the U.S. government on several occasions. The spokesperson noted that one of the reasons that the EU and the United States have a mutual assistance treaty is to avoid problems such as these.
The spokesperson, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly, offered comments on the condition of anonymity.