Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the all-your-data-are-belong-to-us dept.

United States 749

An anonymous reader points out this story about the U.S. Justice Department's claim that companies served with valid warrants for data must produce that data even if the data is not stored in the U.S. Global governments, the tech sector, and scholars are closely following a legal flap in which the US Justice Department claims that Microsoft must hand over e-mail stored in Dublin, Ireland. In essence, President Barack Obama's administration claims that any company with operations in the United States must comply with valid warrants for data, even if the content is stored overseas. It's a position Microsoft and companies like Apple say is wrong, arguing that the enforcement of US law stops at the border. A magistrate judge has already sided with the government's position, ruling in April that "the basic principle that an entity lawfully obligated to produce information must do so regardless of the location of that information." Microsoft appealed to a federal judge, and the case is set to be heard on July 31.

cancel ×

749 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Maybe, maybe not. (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 months ago | (#47451847)

Microsoft is based in the United States, so there may be some valid argument here that as an American company, Microsoft data regardless of where "in the cloud" it is stored is subject to American legal rulings.

The *real* question is what about companies that do business here but are based in other countries?

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (5, Interesting)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 2 months ago | (#47451883)

Someone pointed out that governments don't really matter anymore.

Doesn't matter how true it is. They are gonna bitch scream and stamp their feet till mommy buys them what they want.

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (2)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 2 months ago | (#47451953)

Well any country you do business in you technically are subject to the laws of that country so even if they are based in china but operate a regional HQ or even a small mom and pops size store you pretty much subject to same thing. They can't go and take said servers but they can serve a warrant and make the company turn over the data.

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (4, Insightful)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 2 months ago | (#47452035)

You cannot serve warrents to search property in other countries.

Simple as that.

Servers and data fundamentally don't obey those rules.

The internet doesn't live in the real world. Its rediculous to try and impose real world rules on it.

But fun to watch them try.

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452153)

Sure you can. The question is are they valid.
Servers do not make there own rules. Not until they form sky net.

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (5, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 months ago | (#47452185)

If this does hold up, and Microsoft releases the data stored in another country (which is ludicrous), then how long will it take for every other country in the world to buy equipment from a non-American or solely domestic company? This may backfire...like most of our administration's policies...

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47452203)

The internet doesn't live in the real world.

You mean there are no servers and cables? Everything is just... there?

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (1)

Jeff Deptola (3693575) | about 2 months ago | (#47452225)

So why then are you trying to impose real world borders on the data?

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (-1, Troll)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#47451899)

This is no time for logic. We're being prompted to bitch about the evil government.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451941)

still not done sucking obamas dick huh? He's a terrible, hypocritical, lying, pandering jackass who idiots like yourself can't help but bend over farther and farther for....

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451959)

You're a moron led astray by a Republican-sponsored article title. The act was created during Reagan's time and signed into law by Reagan. The current USG is just enforcing it.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452065)

You don't understaaaaaaand! We signed away our Constitutional rights because the Republicans promised this would only be used against drug lords and pedophiles! It's not fair!

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452267)

Responding to your own idiotic posts now. Please take your meds.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451979)

You, on the other hand, sound like a reasonable, kind and informed person. Eh, never mind...

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (3, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47451975)

The *real* question is what about companies that do business here but are based in other countries?

- what do you mean it is a 'question'? We already know the answer to this. [matzav.com] If a business has any presence on USA soil, the oppressive dictatorial USA government feels that it has full authority to demand all information from that business about its customers and their transactions.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#47452047)

This is the case for any normal country, as well it should be. I can't believe I'm defending Obama on something, but they're right on this one: if a country's legal system has a valid case for something, and issues a court order ordering you to turn something over, you can't just avoid a court order by saying "it's in my summer home in another country!". If you refuse, they can hold you in contempt of court until you decide to produce it. Maybe the other country can't be compelled to give it up, but you're in this country, and they can keep you in jail as long as they want.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47452097)

This has nothing to do with USA citizens, this is about sovereignty of people and countries that are not USA in the first place. Swiss bank doesn't have to disclose ANYTHING to the USA regime about its account holders in Switzerland. Of-course current oppressive USA regime disagrees, apparently you are on the wrong side of the individual rights on this one as well.

By the way, any sufficiently [matzav.com] truthful statement [slashdot.org] is indistinguishable from 'flamebait'. In other words, TRUTH HURTS, doesn't it?

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#47452215)

Swiss bank doesn't have to disclose ANYTHING to the USA regime about its account holders in Switzerland.

No, but when the US courts find that you, a US citizen living in the US, have monies in a foreign bank account (thanks to documents they seized by court order) which they've proven are stolen or need to be taxed or whatever, "it's not in the country" is not an excuse. You either come up with the money, or you sit in jail forever in contempt of court. You can't just hide property in a foreign country and avoid legal consequences.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47452261)

Again, the foreign companies are not USA citizens and foreign companies are not subject to USA law on their own land. However if you are an American then you are a SECOND CLASS CITIZEN today (or lower) because foreign banks that have any presence in the USA whatsoever DENY your request to open a bank account :)

If you think this is normal and that is how all countries operate, think again. When you are in Switzerland if you are from India or from China or from Russia or from Germany or from UK or from Brazil or from Uganda you are not going to be prevented from opening a bank account. However if you are from good old US of A you will not be able to open a bank account if you do not have another passport, that's what it is like today to be an American. USA government turned USA citizens into persona non grata for foreign businesses.

By the way, USA is the only of 2 or 3 countries in the world that tax 'world income', as in even if you are not a resident in the country, you are forced to file income taxes every year and above certain income you are forced to pay USA related income taxes :) Great success building that 'independence' and 'freedom'. USA was created to escape this type of persecution, now it is one of the worst offenders against human rights in the world and when I say human rights I am talking about the right to be an individual, the right to self determination, the right not to be a slave to a collective.

By the way, there is 0% wrong with having foreign bank accounts all over the world. AFAIC in today's society everybody needs to have more than one passport and many many many bank accounts and business investments around the world not tied to their country of residence. Of-course you don't have to do it, but then you are owned, aren't you?

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 months ago | (#47451981)

Microsoft is based in the United States, so there may be some valid argument here that as an American company, Microsoft data regardless of where "in the cloud" it is stored is subject to American legal rulings.

The *real* question is what about companies that do business here but are based in other countries?

There must be precedents or applicable laws for physical analogies. If a company operating in the US happens to store physical records somewhere outside the US, and those records are pertinent to the case, would those not be covered by a US subpoena? If the company has access to them and the ability to procure them, what does the physical location of the records or their headquarters matter?

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452253)

The only question is that of enforcement: The US should not be able to exert actual control over servers (or documents) in foreign countries. The company can be punished for not producing the data (or documents) though.

The more interesting question is indeed about companies that do business in the US but are not actually based in the US and don't host their data in the US. What can the US do to them?

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (2, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47452005)

Oh, and by the way it is not only just foreign businesses that operate on USA soil that are forced to comply with nonsensical USA demands, the foreign governments are giving in whenever presented with any demand really. [wikipedia.org] USA is way out of line on all of its oppressive tactics, it will not end well.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 2 months ago | (#47452019)

The *real* question is what about companies that do business here

Is there a question at all? If you have a presence here, you are subject to our laws. I expect that the reverse is also true, that if I conduct business overseas that I am also subject to the laws of countries whose policies I do not agree with.

Now perhaps business based elsewhere have a recourse US based business do not have: they can stop doing business here and let the vagaries of extradition processes take control. But I wouldn't put money on my government doing anything for me in that case but jockeying for political advantage and then turning me and throwing me out like rancid meat. My best hope is that there is no agreement for data, and I can somehow fall through the cracks.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452137)

I expect that the reverse is also true, that if I conduct business overseas that I am also subject to the laws of countries whose policies I do not agree with.

the problem is the US government does not believe that is true at all. For instance other countries have laws that make it illegal for privacy data to be sent out of the country without the users express consent, these US laws are therefore a breach of laws in other countries.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (2)

graphius (907855) | about 2 months ago | (#47452255)

This deserves mod points. This is one reason many companies are leery of storing private data in the cloud (among other reasons)

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452029)

Oh please, this is SUCH a non-issue.
If the company is a US company, it is subject to US orders regardless of where its data resides.
If the company is a non-US company, it is subject to orders for that component of which resides physically or logically in the US.
Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (4, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 months ago | (#47452179)

there is a LOT to see here, this is definitely not a non-issue. This inherently makes US companies a danger to do business with many countries for hosting/cloud services where many countries have laws and/or industries with regulatory requirements that demand data cannot be taken out of the country. This ruling if upheld will make US companies like Amazon, MS, Apple, Google et al a no go when it comes to hosting, the financial ramifications are rather massive.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452053)

Just send the warrant to the NSA, and get Microsoft's data from them. They have copies of basically everything from all over the world already, right?

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (4, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 months ago | (#47452071)

The huge MASSIVE problem with that position is that many other countries have VERY specific laws about data, especially privacy data leaving the borders. This puts international companies in a hugely awkward position where they must break one law or the other, either of which potentially could result in huge fines or Jail time. The US doesn't get to determine what other countries laws are and they definitely do not get to override them.

Re: Maybe, maybe not. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452085)

Exactly. Hiding data offshore is no different than hiding funds offshore. That said, the governments rights to the data need to be examined in the first place, but if a company is legally bound to produce it, the location it's held in legally shouldn't make any difference.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452103)

And then you'd have the usual misguided posts about how Microsoft is capitulating to government demands and that they are all involved in some big conspiracy. It's funny how there all these baseless claims about how Microsoft installs backdoors in its software for the government but then a story like this comes along and it's all "oh the poor government can't get access to Microsoft's data".

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452107)

If you commit a crime in the US and go to another country you must be brought back to the US to face the courts. Or if your a foreigner and commit a crime in the US you must face the US courts.

The real question becomes what are these companies hiding that there refusing to give up. Apple, MS store data and Apple's devices track you, MS has been accused of allowing back doors into their software for spying and collecting data on you. Now all the sudden their going to complain about about privacy or make up excuses that don't exist when it comes to the law.

Companies outside the US are not exempt from US laws.

Re:Maybe, maybe not. (1)

O'Nazareth (1203258) | about 2 months ago | (#47452125)

Are not servers in other countries owned by subsidiaires of Microsoft rather the corporation?

Do Business in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451857)

Then expect to obey the laws. Only a corporation with the mindset of a character from a Rand novel would think otherwise.

Re:Do Business in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451891)

Only a government bootlicker would mindlessly appeal to law as if they're automatically just.

Re:Do Business in the US? (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#47452055)

If you don't like the law, you're free to go to another country. Isn't that the way you nutball Randians think?

Re:Do Business in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452233)

I'm not a Randian; I'm a liberal who thinks that just because a company operates in one country, that does not entitle the government of that country to all the *irrelevant* data the company has in other countries.

Re:Do Business in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451965)

only if the govt follows its own laws first.

Re:Do Business in the US? (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | about 2 months ago | (#47452093)

The data is stored in the EU and belongs to EU citizens. US law DOES NOT APPLY. It doesn't matter how much a government bureaucrat screams otherwise. Following the law where you do business goes both ways. EU citizens' data stored in the EU is protected by....wait for it.....EU LAWS!

Easy solution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451859)

Just claim the data was lost due to a "hard drive crash." I mean, it worked for the IRS, right?

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451967)

Don't forget " we didn't run our routine back ups that day" and "oh anyone the 6 other sender/receiver's computers also crashed" and "my dog ate my homework"

Re:Easy solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452083)

Also, Don't forget we canceled our contracted email backup service. [dailycaller.com] After the emails were lost... Which shouldn't be seen as suspicious in anyway or form.

Re:Easy solution (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 months ago | (#47452075)

Considering everything going on with that and other cases that exist, I'm sure that we'll see the same with the BLM and DoJ very soon.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452257)

Tech companies don't have the excuse that they have to follow the orders of Congress, such as regularly cut operating expenses.

Peasants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451879)

There are no countries just unruly provinces.

Goodbye foreign markets (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451893)

If this holds, US companies will have trouble competing abroad. Information belonging to a US firm's foreign customer company could be seized without possible recourse, unless the customer hires a US counsel.

Re:Goodbye foreign markets (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#47452095)

I don't see how this is different for any country. If China's government wants something that your company has, and issues a subpoena or court order for it, and your company has a physical presence in China, they can hold those company officers in jail until you produce the information/item. Same goes for any country.

What you need to look at is the track record of the government(s) which your vendor operates under. I never hear about the government of Iceland causing problems with companies and their customers, yet I do hear about the US legal system causing a lot of problems. So if you have a choice between an Iceland-based vendor and a US-based one, maybe you should select the former.

Re:Goodbye foreign markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452111)

If this holds, US companies will have trouble competing abroad. Information belonging to a US firm's foreign customer company could be seized without possible recourse, unless the customer hires a US counsel.

I knew I made a finical mistake by not becoming a lawyer. Especial when one gets elected to the highest office.

Re:Goodbye foreign markets (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47452221)

Sort of. What they would need to do is form a wholly owned subsidiary within that other country and have that subsidiary contract services at costs.

This gives them legal separation as long as the subsidiary is run by a separate management team. The US would then subpoena the company and subsidiary and use whatever treaty and international laws allows (which likely would be just as much).

Of course the draw backs of that is they will not be able to play the five nuckle shuffle with taxes and end up paying substantially more instead of shifting profits around. But seeing how the EU is comprised, a single entity for the EU partners may still allow it and achieve the same goals.

Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47451895)

Will this influence the tax gimmick where the HQ is overseas so the profits don't have to have taxes paid on them?

Why is it the money can evade the government but the data can't?

Re:Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 months ago | (#47451919)

Now that is the important question.

The DoJ`s assertion here makes sense, US companies can escape the law simply because they store data off shore, now why can:t the IRS say the same thing?

Re:Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452121)

Microsoft evades billions in taxes via an Irish mailbox company. And because the subsidiary isn't an American company, the US government cannot do anything about that. But if that same company hosts customer data in Ireland, it would suddenly be under US jurisdiction?
And for American citizens their worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, but for companies it doesn't apply. But those same companies claim all sorts of individual rights if it fits them.
The government supports the prosecution of file-sharing, but accessing your foreign bank account over the internet would probably be claimed as private correspondence! Or do you think all those Americans with Swiss accounts flew over every month to check their balance? The NSA knows about every terrorist with a Swiss bank account, but doesn't do anything about the illegal stashing of billions of dollars in foreign bank accounts.

Re:Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 months ago | (#47451977)

because you cannot bribe with data, just blackmail

Re:Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (1)

jeremiahstanley (473105) | about 2 months ago | (#47451985)

You can bribe a politician with money, you can only try to extort them with data.

Duh. ;)

Re:Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 months ago | (#47452001)

Will this influence the tax gimmick where the HQ is overseas so the profits don't have to have taxes paid on them?

Why is it the money can evade the government but the data can't?

Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance, which is what these companies are practicing, is not. There's no criminal wrongdoing taking place.

Even though the politicians bluster on and on about the problem, they always forget to mention that they are the ones with the power to fix it, if they chose to.

Re:Will this affect overseas profits tax evasion? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47452193)

Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance, which is what these companies are practicing, is not.

I've heard this argument from neoliberals on CNBC. It reminds me of a teenager whose parents catch him high as a kite: "You said I shouldn't smoke pot. You didn't say anything about cooking it in brownies and eating it."

It's a reminder about why corporations are regulated. They will do their best to circumvent laws using lawyers, unless they can be sufficiently frightened into behaving. Human beings are capable of discerning right and wrong and society holds them accountable. Corporations' charters specifically require that they not discern between right and wrong and then avoid accountability by saying, "But I didn't pinky swear!".

I think USA is right... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451907)

And the reaction will be that all high tech companies will just leave the USA.

Re:I think USA is right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451973)

And the reaction will be that all high tech companies will just leave the USA.

When they leave the USA, which more progressive beacon of freedom will they move to?

Re:I think USA is right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452091)

Any one of the up and coming empires such as china, india, etc...

America is dead. Our leaders are crooked beyond belief. The only way to solve it is by something more than words.

Re:I think USA is right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452113)

Any one that actually is a beacon of freedom, not oppression...

Re:I think USA is right... (1)

Twelfth Harmonic (3464759) | about 2 months ago | (#47452119)

One they can buy.

Re:I think USA is right... (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47452081)

And the reaction will be that all high tech companies will just leave the USA.

The ruling pertains to anybody who does business in the US. So, they can leave the USA, as long as they don't sell anything in the USA.

Re:I think USA is right... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#47452151)

And go where? Tech companies require highly-trained employees to operate. They could move to Mexico, for instance, but good luck getting any good employees there; there's not many locals with the requisite skills, and no one else wants to move there with all the cartel violence and kidnappings. They could move to Zimbabwe, but again there's zero locals there that can do the jobs, and who the hell wants to move to Zimbabwe? They could also move to some nice European country, but even here, assuming that government has a great reputation with these matters, there's a big logistical problem (not to mention a big cost) with trying to convince several thousand tech workers to pack up all at once and move to the other side of the planet, and also getting permission from the new host country for this. There's a good reason so many tech companies are located in Silicon Valley: lots of qualified workers are there (and they're there because lots of desirable jobs are there for them). It's not easy to move companies, because they can't afford to suddenly lose all their employees and try to hire new ones elsewhere. The best companies ever do is open up "satellite offices" in other tech hubs; maybe over time they could move themselves this way, but it's not a quick process by any means.

Re:I think USA is right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452159)

I really doubt you'll see them leaving the US. They *might* create separate data warehousing entities but even that sounds like a lot of work.

The only thing I see making them leave the US would be changes to regulations involving their tax avoiding havens ;)

This issue needs to be settled. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451911)

We have all these "multi-national corporations", whatever that's supposed to mean. A corporation exists through the laws that allow it, but those vary from one nation to another. Can it really be said that "Microsoft" is one global entity? If so, then the administration's view is the only one that makes sense to me. If not, then Microsoft Ireland is not the same thing as Microsoft USA, and interactions between the two should be regarded as international interactions between two distinct entities.
Unfortunately, I think both Microsoft and the government will argue either side depending on the situation.
But a fixed legal precedent would be useful to have.

Long term plan? (2)

KerPow (667116) | about 2 months ago | (#47451931)

The best the US administration can hope for here is to shatter the US software industry into a thousand small associated companies with strict data sharing agreements to handle overseas data. Worst case they slowly succeed at destroying any ability to run a US business that handles overseas customer information. What is the goal here? There is no way that demanding that kind of access will be sustainable (short of all out secrecy which has obviously failed in this instance.)

Re:Long term plan? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47452205)

The best the US administration can hope for here is to shatter the US software industry into a thousand small associated companies with strict data sharing agreements to handle overseas data.

That might not be so bad. The notion that the internet is some wild frontier where no laws apply, because technology is a pretty weak one.

".....enforcement of US law stops at the border." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47451939)

Microsoft, Apple, and lots of companies love that there are no laws at the US border. They can accept the flood of illegals to work formerly middle class jobs for below minimum wage. It's perfect. It's just another way to save them money. Flood H-1B and "undocumented" workers into the country. Open borders. Overstay your visas. America needs to become part of the North American Union. Because it worked so well in Europe.

And those emails "hidden" in Ireland are about one thing and one thing only: tax shelters. I'm sure once those companies get on board the "amnesty" bandwagon the government will back off going after their tax havens. The government knows that flooding the country with millions of criminals is the fastest way to create the North American Union. Zuckerberg, Gates, Buffett, and company think we are underpopulated. Of course they hide their money overseas and expect the middle class to pick up the check.

Overreach (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 2 months ago | (#47451991)

A warrant should only mean that someone has been granted a legal right to search for and seize specific property. It should not mean that the owner has any obligation to do anything other than stay out of their way. In particular, if the property is not on the premises (or, as in this case, is entirely out of the court's jurisdiction), there is no reason the owner should feel obligated to say where it is or fetch it. Make them get a warrant for the correct place first—if they can. After all, a warrant is supposed to "particularly [describe] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Re:Overreach (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 2 months ago | (#47452059)

Make them get a warrant for the correct place first—if they can.

So according to your interpretation, if you played a game like this [kinja-img.com] with sufficiently many cups [the cloud] and the thing to be seized instead of the green ball, you should be pretty much safe from any legal search?

Re:Overreach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452077)

Absolutely. They have to have evidence that something is where they say it is.

Simple rule, actually (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 months ago | (#47451993)

The practical bottom line is that if you want to do business in the USA, you have to comply with US law. If you refuse, your company will be booted out of the US.

The same is true for any country: they can block whatever the heck they want at their border if one doesn't follow their laws.

Now, companies may make a legal plea otherwise, but if it doesn't fly, the door will lock behind them.

Re:Simple rule, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452145)

Wow, what an arrogant rant.

Re:Simple rule, actually (5, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47452235)

It's interesting that right at this moment, the Obama Adminstration is pushing an international treaty that will make it so that corporations do not have to comply with a country's laws. It's called "TISA" and it's so bad that it was supposed to be secret for five years after it's ratified and put into action. We only know about it because Wikileaks released a leaked portion of it.

Secret laws being adjudicated in secret courts. All at the behest of corporations who then want (like Microsoft) to not have to comply. It's a pretty ugly type of fascism.

US Judicial Order vs. EU Law (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 months ago | (#47452017)

So what happens when a cloud provider (e.g. Microsoft) hosts customer data for a non-US customer? Does the USG actually think that it's laws take precedence over the laws of region of the owner of the data (i.e., Microsoft's non-US customer) and when the actual transactions are happening off US soil?

Of course, perhaps the best solution for companies like Microsoft is to simply spin-off the non-US data sites as separate entities, so they can't be held liable for the US company's actions. Though this is still just regression games.

Re: US Judicial Order vs. EU Law (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452143)

Have no fear about Dublin our "government" will have a firm grip of its ankles quicker than you can say dear mr leprechaun.

Damaging blow for US tech companies (1)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 2 months ago | (#47452023)

No self-respecting foreign firm with any sort of confidential info is going to do any business with any US cloud or services provider. Throw in the FISA secret rubber stamp machine and who knows what other data siphoning is in place and you may as well just mail copies of everything to any three-letter agency and, most likely, their MIC bedfellows.

America's standing slips by the day. Thank you MIC and the myopic zealots that are part of das Home Security apparatus.

Cloud (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#47452033)

This should do wonders for the emerging cloud economy.

More pain for US companies (1)

melting_clock (659274) | about 2 months ago | (#47452037)

It is no surprise that US companies would have a problem with their government's policy on this. After the negative publicity surrounding the exposure NSA spying on everyone, US companies risk losing international customers and are living with a more complicated mix of international legislation. The cost of the loss of trust continues to increase. Some countries are legislating that data must not be allowed to leave their country and are imposing legal protections on customer data that would make sharing of that data with third parties illegal.

US companies might find themselves in a position where complying with a warrant for data stored outside of the US has them breaking the laws in the country where the data is stored. Countries that specifically have laws to prevent this type of data sharing are not likely to accept complying with a warrant in another jurisdiction as a reasonable excuse.

Curious (5, Insightful)

aevan (903814) | about 2 months ago | (#47452041)

Does this mean that the US Gov is fine with those same companies turning over all their data to China if a Chinese official decides he wants it? Wonder what other companies this fun can extend to.

Re:Curious (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47452099)

Does this mean that the US Gov is fine with those same companies turning over all their data to China if a Chinese official decides he wants it? Wonder what other companies this fun can extend to.

Nope. Every nation on earth maintains double-standard when it comes to this sort of thing. Ultimately, you have to pick a side.

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452183)

I choose to, first and foremost, obey all of the laws of Antarctica.

a God reason to boycot US companies (1)

Simon Kepp Nielsen (3665673) | about 2 months ago | (#47452049)

This uncertainty would be a God reason for foreign countries to boycot US IT companies. Most of our confidential data is om servers and storage managed by CSC Danmark. It would be illegal for US to hånd over much og this data to parties outside of the EU, but it could similarly be illegal for CSC to not hånd this same data over to US aithorities, in violation with Danish law. If the US insists that companies operating in Both the US and other countries are bound by US law which trumps the laws og other countries in which they operate, I van only ser this leasing to US companies Being confined to only operating in the U S.

Re:a God reason to boycot US companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452173)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Sciences_Corporation [wikipedia.org]

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) is an American multinational corporation that provide information technology (IT) services and professional services.[5] Its headquarters are located in Falls Church, Virginia. CSC has 80,000 employees in over 70 countries. Its clients include commercial enterprises and the U.S. federal government, as well as state, local and non-U.S. government agencies.[4]

All countries have the same rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452057)

Microsoft does business in China.
China and the US are both countries and have the same rights.

So by extension China has the right to issue a warrant to Microsoft for all data on their American servers.....to fight terrorism right?

It's corporations we're talking about (4, Insightful)

jgotts (2785) | about 2 months ago | (#47452061)

Effectively, though perhaps not in the strict legal definition, the purpose of a corporation is to make a profit.

As we can plainly see from Microsoft's conduct over the years, they will break whatever laws they can get away with to make that profit. This lawsuit isn't about Hotmail users' e-mail messages, this is about illegal or otherwise objectionable behavior that they are trying to shield in other countries.

If you're worried about your e-mail and data stored on Microsoft's servers, then let's not mix that up with a corporation's ability to hide illegal, unethical, or immoral behavior within a more compliant state's physical borders.

Threaten to remove US assets / jobs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452069)

If the data truly resides in or is part of a business which resides in another Country, simply refuse and if pressed, threaten to remove all assets and jobs from US soil. You don't like our answer, fine, we'll go play somewhere else and simply sell our product here like other (Chinese) companies do. No problem.

Headline should be modded as Flamebait (2)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about 2 months ago | (#47452079)

i fully agree with the troubling implications that the U.S. can subpoena any information regardless of where it physically resides in the world, but the headline is woefully inaccurate. i thought this was Slashdot, not BuzzFeed. very disappointed here.

Leave the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452089)

The US gov is burning down everything that can be set on fire. Don't waste resources on putting the fire out. Just run out of there while you can.

It looks like (1)

Twelfth Harmonic (3464759) | about 2 months ago | (#47452133)

a future front-page badge for companies will be

Not in USA

what a headline (4, Informative)

maliqua (1316471) | about 2 months ago | (#47452139)

That's not got an agenda behind it at all. what it means to say is US owns data of US companies/citizens even if they hide it outside the USA that seems some what reasonable.

one way tickets... (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 months ago | (#47452147)

Perhaps the US gov will save money buying one way tickets for their minions trying to access these foreign servers. Snooping on various kinds of information are criminal privacy invasions in some countries and need serious consequences. Something about their previous bad experience with murderous dictators. Hopefully criminals from the US won't get a free pass just because they are US gov employees.

That would mean no business with Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452157)

for any country that claims to have sovereignty.

So TRUE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452169)

Look at what happened with those sites that did the poker online a few years back!
America has more power than you can possibly imagine!

A larger legal question arises here (3, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47452187)

I believe that Microsoft is right to claim the US government doesn't have jurisdiction over data stored outside of the United States. There simply MUST be a clear distinction maintained over where something is located, or country borders don't mean anything. If law enforcement in one country can force the production of evidence located in another country, then it's a free for all and borders have no meaning.

For instance... Lets say that a country (not the USA) has strict privacy laws about data collected and stored digitally and how it can be used. Lets say that they strictly forbid the sharing of specific kinds of data without written consent from the individual the data is about. If Microsoft operates in that country and collects data from it's users and then receives a court order for data from the USA for data stored in the country with strict privacy laws, what is Microsoft to do? Violate the court order and obey the laws under which the data was collected and stored OR violate the laws of another country? If borders mean ANYTHING, Microsoft must obey the local laws of the countries they operate in. So if the data is not here in the USA, the USA cannot force production of the data though the courts.

I understand that this is rife for abuse because it allows the hiding of criminal evidence overseas where it is beyond direct USA reach, but there are processes to obtain such evidence though diplomatic and international law enforcement channels in place. For Civil litigation, there are ways to work though other countries legal systems (albeit inconvenient and expensive ones). So, where I get there are problems, we really cannot just unilaterally decide we have the authority to demand a company produce data held overseas and force them hand over evidence which is not within our borders.

Finally, there is the "How would you feel if somebody did it to you?" test. Let's say the US was where the data was located and some other country was demanding that the data be sent back to them and felt they could enforce their will within the USA.... Would we not feel offended? I dare say we would.

Just making existing policy official (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452197)

Now that the NSA trying to back door everything is documented fact and not tin-foil hat fodder on late night AM radio every company on the planet that takes their security (note I didn't say your privacy) seriously is going to be double and triple checking everything.
 
Privacy, constitutional rights, jurisdictions and ethics are annoyances... so the Executive branch is going to save everyone the trouble of Congressional and Judicial oversight and just tell the world how things are supposed to be. (And I'd probably be making this exact same statement regardless of who was in the Oval Office).

Obama apologetists? (1)

blackt0wer (2714221) | about 2 months ago | (#47452211)

Dear world, I'm sorry for how terribly the Obama administration has treated you. Please realize that all but a small minority of the American people (the legitimate ones) do not stand for these egregious acts. We simply have no channel in this vacuum of power and voice through which to enact change. In short, our hands are tied. Please do not take a sour view of Americans in light of Obama's views. PS. In case you're going to comment me back, with something with respect to Bush, piss off. Obama has had 5 years and he controlled both houses at the beginning of his term. Every problem we face today is because of, or has been made worse by, the Obama administration.

Hey thug Democrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47452213)

How you feeling about your savior now? Could he be more transparent about how much of a cheap street thug he really is?

Subpoena vs Warrent (2)

jcochran (309950) | about 2 months ago | (#47452263)

The real issue at hand is the difference between a warrent and a subpoena.
The legal requirements to obtain a warrent are rather trivial and obtaining a warrent is rather easy. But a warrent doesn't extend past the boundaries on the United States. A subpoena on the other hand has far stricter oversight and requirements to obtain. But a subpoena requires the one served to provide the information requested regardless of where in the world that information resides.

What's happening is the government is attempting to get the best of both worlds. The trivial requirements of obtaining a warrent, combined with the expanse of a subpoena. And that frankly is wrong and needs to be stopped.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>