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Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

Soulskill posted about three weeks ago | from the you-didn't-say-pretty-please dept.

Microsoft 419

schwit1 sends this excerpt from a report about Microsoft: Despite a federal court order directing Microsoft to turn overseas-held email data to federal authorities, the software giant said Friday it will continue to withhold that information as it waits for the case to wind through the appeals process. The judge has now ordered both Microsoft and federal prosecutors to advise her how to proceed by next Friday, September 5.

Let there be no doubt that Microsoft's actions in this controversial case are customer-centric. The firm isn't just standing up to the US government on moral principles. It's now defying a federal court order. "Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal," a Microsoft statement notes. "Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen."

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That's nice, but... (5, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about three weeks ago | (#47793117)

Isn't there a NSA backdoor to MS?

Re:That's nice, but... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793131)

What, is this all just for show? Why would the Feds want to make news over them demanding the data from Microsoft?
Is this just to make us believe they can't get the data without Microsoft's cooperation?

Re:That's nice, but... (5, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about three weeks ago | (#47793387)

What, is this all just for show?

Its either plausible deniability or the need to demonstrate an unbroken and untainted chain of evidence. The NSA may in fact already have access to this data. But acting like they don't, or even loosing a minor case might set other criminals at ease about the security of their data within the Microsoft infrastructure. And they won't switch to a more secure platform. The chain of evidence might be needed to keep a subsequent trial from being thrown out due to tainted evidence. The NSA may already have the evidence (through questionable means), but getting a clean copy removes issues of it being fruit of the poisonous tree [wikipedia.org] .

Re:That's nice, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793147)

Isn't there a NSA backdoor to MS?

By way of your ass?

Re: That's nice, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793149)

There's a front door, which MS are trying to close.

Re:That's nice, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793175)

Isn't there a NSA backdoor to MS?

Dunno, the Russian FSB has actually wrung Windows code reviews out of Microsoft so if they didn't find any back door in that code I'd say there are none to find... on the other hand perhaps there is a special Homeland Securified edition that gets sold to the public? If you are really that paranoid about these things there is always the option of doing a personal code review of what is it now, 200 million plus? lines of Linux source code and then compiling your own Slackware distro. I'm actually surprised the FSB didn't do that (paranoid bastards that they are) rather than code reviewing and using Windows. Seems to me it's more efficient to just fork Linux.

Re:That's nice, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793613)

I'm pretty sure the backdoor was pretty simple. Remember the screwup where windows update would accept TS license keys as code keys? Maybe there's another key windows update will accept that NSA has but is careful how they use it.

Re:That's nice, but... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about three weeks ago | (#47793365)

"Backdoor"? More of a freeway with HOV lanes.

Re:That's nice, but... (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about three weeks ago | (#47793503)

The government could almost certainly get this data by going through the proper procedures in Ireland. That they can also get it surreptitiously doesn't matter; they're trying to establish precedent that they can legally get any data held by any US company anywhere in the world without involving any other government; that precedent is the important part, not the particular data involved.

Re:That's nice, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793611)

Presumably, this would limit access to a smaller set of people.

customer-centric (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about three weeks ago | (#47793127)

Microsoft's actions might seem "customer-centric," but really they're fighting for their lives.

If MS can be forced to give up European data, stored on European servers, that's game over for them.
Lawsuits and investigations will flourish in Europe, because their data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than ours.

This could kill MS's European business.

Re:customer-centric (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793201)

You mean "Kill every company on the internet's business that serves customers in Europe and America."

Legal precedent would compel Google, and everyone else, to do the same stupid thing this judge has ordered, who is apparently unaware of international laws and seems to assume that US law is the only thing that exists or even should exist. If MS loses, everyone loses.

Re:customer-centric (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793255)

judge has ordered, who is apparently unaware of international laws and seems to assume that US law is the only thing that exists or even should exist

A judge is demanding a United States company to play by the rules of the United States? And you have a problem with that? US law is and should be the only law the judge needs to consider. If US laws are incompatible with other nation's laws, then don't blame it on the judge, complain to your legislators.

Re:customer-centric (3, Insightful)

Atryn (528846) | about three weeks ago | (#47793491)

A judge is demanding a United States company to play by the rules of the United States? And you have a problem with that? US law is and should be the only law the judge needs to consider. If US laws are incompatible with other nation's laws, then don't blame it on the judge, complain to your legislators.

Another great reason for an inversion besides taxes.

Re:customer-centric (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about three weeks ago | (#47793643)

It wouldn't matter - any company with a presence in the US would be at risk, no matter where they hoard their earnings.

Re:customer-centric (0)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about three weeks ago | (#47793533)

I'm not a Microsoft fan in any way, but MS is dead right on this one. A US judge does not have jurisdiction over foreign e-mails. He can claim jurisdiction all he wants, butwishing will not make the world bend to his black-robed will.

As a practical matter, MS lawyers will stall this with delaying actions until Pres. Paul is safely in office and this crap all goes away.

Re:customer-centric (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793587)

The data is owned and controlled by the US division of Microsoft. The judge issued a decree that the US division of Microsoft must produce the data. If Microsoft does it from foreign servers, or local copies, or by recording the farting of the birds, no one cares. All that matters is that the US division of Microsoft must produce the data.
The fact that the data is currently stored overseas is irrelevant.

Re:customer-centric (1)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793435)

He may be aware of other country's laws. He just doesn't care. When/until the USA signs a treaty on this companies with physical presence in the USA are going to give up data when ordered.

Re:customer-centric (2, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about three weeks ago | (#47793667)

Europeans, when push comes to shove, are generally useless when it comes to standing up for what is right. So even though these are foreign, presumably European emails, residing on European servers, once the appeal process finishes Microsoft will start downloading the data to US servers. And then the EU nations will promptly call a summit, bicker amongst themselves till the download is complete, whine a lot, but ultimately do nothing. Just like they are doing with Ukraine. Given a choice of doing something meaningful that needs doing but might cause some discomfort and conflict, they would rather rationalize why they don't do anything. Kind of like Obama too (and I am not a Republican/conservative or libertarian... I'm independent).

Re:customer-centric (5, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793441)

You mean "Kill every company on the internet's business that serves customers in Europe and America."

Legal precedent would compel Google, and everyone else, to do the same stupid thing this judge has ordered, who is apparently unaware of international laws and seems to assume that US law is the only thing that exists or even should exist. If MS loses, everyone loses.

Actually, this same scenario happened with the banking industry and what the judge is proposing actually follows the international law and treaties that came out of it. In short, it doesn't matter where the assets are stored as to who has jurisdiction, but as to who has control over them. For instance if the IRA had deposits in Irish Allied Bank, but the cash was stored in the US, then the Irish Government could still freeze the account. So, if the data is stored somewhere else, but the company is headquartered in their land, why not the same thing?

Re:customer-centric (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793211)

Except it isn't European data, Its an American's data stored under a European account in European servers. Small difference.

Re:customer-centric (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about three weeks ago | (#47793359)

Its an American's data stored under a European account in European servers.

Perhaps. But if it was an American, residing on European soil, there would be extradition procedures to follow. And those would involve having the local (EU) police generate their own warrant and make their own arrest based upon a formal request. The aprehended suspect would then be turned over to the requesting country.

The same sort of thing should happen here. The USA should make a formal request to the Irish court to secure the evidence and turn it over to US authorities.

Re:customer-centric (3, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793459)

Its an American's data stored under a European account in European servers.

Perhaps. But if it was an American, residing on European soil, there would be extradition procedures to follow. And those would involve having the local (EU) police generate their own warrant and make their own arrest based upon a formal request. The aprehended suspect would then be turned over to the requesting country.

The same sort of thing should happen here. The USA should make a formal request to the Irish court to secure the evidence and turn it over to US authorities.

That is true, but it's not about an American, but an American's data that is in question. You can only extridte people. If an American only needs to store their data in a foreign country to keep from complying with a warrant, then every criminal organization will do that. What the court is saying is that jurisdiction follows whoever has control over the data, which in this case is Microsoft, but could just as easily be drug cartel or terrorist group.

Re:customer-centric (1)

PPH (736903) | about three weeks ago | (#47793569)

But if an American visits a foreign country, they and their property are subject to the laws of that county. We expect the same of foreign visitors entering our country. And if that foreign countries data protection laws differ from those of the USA, they should still be honored.

Having some foreign government insist on the right to root around in their citizens possesions while in this country, either as a tourist or a refugee would open up a human rights as well as an intellectual property can of worms. Imagine an H-1B worker's home country insisting on receiving copies of all of their work product while employed here.

Re:customer-centric (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793639)

But if an American visits a foreign country, they and their property are subject to the laws of that county. We expect the same of foreign visitors entering our country. And if that foreign countries data protection laws differ from those of the USA, they should still be honored.

Having some foreign government insist on the right to root around in their citizens possesions while in this country, either as a tourist or a refugee would open up a human rights as well as an intellectual property can of worms. Imagine an H-1B worker's home country insisting on receiving copies of all of their work product while employed here.

But the criminal in question didn't visit Ireland and leave his data there. Microsoft didn't visit Ireland, either, but it did send the data there. Also, this is not tangible personal property. It is a bunch of electrons.

As for the H-1B worker, that is a strawman argument and has nothing to do with this. Here is a concrete example of what is going on here. I steal a painting in the US and send it via FedEx to Amerstam where it sits in FedEx's hangar waiting to be picked up. The feds arrest me and ask FedEx to send the painting back for evidence. Should FedEx say no, because it is now in their possession in a foreign country? Before you answer, the courts have already answered it and said yes, FedEx would need to return it as long as it is still in their possession.

Or, lets say two child pornographers both store the pictures they have taken in the US (so US law is broken) on Google's servers and one of the pornographers pictures happen to reside on a server under Google's control in Ireland and the other on a server under Google's control in the US. Is guy who had the luck of his data being routed to Ireland off scott free while the other guy goes to jail, when both of these accounts and servers are under Google's control? While the courts haven't answered this question, they have done so with banking and found that US banks must still turn over seized assets of US bank holders even if those assets are now held in foreign countries. Most other countries also have the same laws, too.

So, the question really is whether or not a criminal should be able to use a US company to hide it's data just because the US company has a server farm somewhere other than the US?

Re:customer-centric (5, Insightful)

niftymitch (1625721) | about three weeks ago | (#47793551)

Except it isn't European data, Its an American's data stored under a European account in European servers. Small difference.

It is not the data that is the issue.

It is a US Judge requiring a company to reach out across international borders and
as an agent of the judge grab the data and spirit it across international borders and
deliver it to the judge. This something that the US judge could not require of the
State Department, CIA or NSA any other government agency to do.

If it was not data the rule would be more obvious. If a storage company had
a large box of cigars perhaps from some random country close to Florida could that
company be compelled to ship that box of cigars to the judge to determine
if the owner of the box of cigars was engaging in the trade of and trade with
a foreign country that the US has issues with. Only by inspection of the
contents of the box would the judge know.

Now it is possible that Cuban cigars are no longer the smoking gun of illegal
trade with Cuba but the point is that this judge is forcing a company to reach out
across international borders and do the judges bidding.

What if the company name was Blackwater Security Consulting (since renamed Academi)
and that company was directed by a judge to import or export anything or anyone
at the behest of the judge (with or without payment for services BTW).

If it was a physical container the decision in my mind is obvious
that the judge is reaching, reaching, reaching well beyond charter and
jurisdiction.

It gets more interesting if the transport of the physical container crosses
other international borders. Most nations have laws that prohibit trafficking
in stolen goods. So a packet map showing how each and every fragment
of this container traveled could also be a topic of a United Nations inquiry.
Blood diamonds, ebony, ivory... trafficking in crime tainted desirables and
this judge covets this stuff.

Re:customer-centric (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about three weeks ago | (#47793223)

It's all just a matter of legal principle. Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based. So M$ is challenging the order to publicly establish a principle and protect it and all other internet companies in this regard. Technically speaking all other internet companies are now getting a free ride on M$'s dime, so it seems sometimes they do pay back to the industry. This is an important principle of law and something the US Federal government should be paying attention to and legislating to ensure the future of all US internet companies is not severely threatened.

Re:customer-centric (1)

Whatsisname (891214) | about three weeks ago | (#47793329)

Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based?

Why shouldn't they? MS is a United States company. Why should MS, or any other corporation, be able to only abide by US law when it is convenient for them, and break it other times? If the laws of two jurisdictions are incompatible with each other, the corporation should have to make a hard choice and only operate in a single jurisdiction, and use other avenues to expand business to the other.

This is not a case of the US trying to compel a European Company into doing something, it is compelling Microsoft, subject to US law, to turn over data it holds, albeit in a different company. If an American individual is subpoenaed for information relating to a crime, resisting turning it over because it's held in a safe deposit box abroad, is no more an acceptable excuse than "it's in my other pants".

An individual in the United States must abide by US law even when abroad, in addition to abiding by the rules of the foreign country. It's still illegal for an American to smoke weed or solicit 14 year old prostitutes abroad, despite those being legal in some places of the world. If American persons have to play by United States rules 24x7, why should a corporation get to pick and choose?

Re:customer-centric (5, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about three weeks ago | (#47793383)

Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based?

Why shouldn't they? MS is a United States company. Why should MS, or any other corporation, be able to only abide by US law when it is convenient for them, and break it other times? If the laws of two jurisdictions are incompatible with each other, the corporation should have to make a hard choice and only operate in a single jurisdiction, and use other avenues to expand business to the other.

This is not a case of the US trying to compel a European Company into doing something, it is compelling Microsoft, subject to US law, to turn over data it holds, albeit in a different company. If an American individual is subpoenaed for information relating to a crime, resisting turning it over because it's held in a safe deposit box abroad, is no more an acceptable excuse than "it's in my other pants".

An individual in the United States must abide by US law even when abroad, in addition to abiding by the rules of the foreign country. It's still illegal for an American to smoke weed or solicit 14 year old prostitutes abroad, despite those being legal in some places of the world. If American persons have to play by United States rules 24x7, why should a corporation get to pick and choose?

The US legal system starts and ENDS at the US borders. You seem to have completely misunderstood this situation, For example your safe deposit box example, if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it, doing so would be a violation of europan law and the US officials doing it would be guilty of bank robbery and treated like any other common criminal. They must go through the countries legal system that holds the goods they want to seize, similarly the same applies to Data, the US can get access to it as long as it follows the appropriate laws and procedures. What the US government is trying to do is say other countries laws don't matter with data and therefore are asking a US companies to break another countries laws. You yourself said it that when in other countries you must abide by that countries rules, you cannot compel an individual or company to break the laws of another country. No one is suggesting that MS gets to ignore US laws, it is the US government saying that they get it ignore other countries laws and can compel US companies to do the same while they are in those countries.

Since when did Microsoft become a EU company (2, Informative)

rsborg (111459) | about three weeks ago | (#47793407)

The US legal system starts and ENDS at the US borders.

Microsoft is headquartered and incorporated in the US and thus subject to US law. QED.

Re:Since when did Microsoft become a EU company (1)

dave562 (969951) | about three weeks ago | (#47793471)

The legal question is not so much where the corporation is based, but who owns the data that they have been entrusted with.

Re:Since when did Microsoft become a EU company (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about three weeks ago | (#47793515)

The question is not about whether they are subject to US law, they are, it is whether US can tell a US based company to ignore another countries laws. The argument here is that what the US court is demanding isn't legal and the US doesn't have the legal authority to do.

Re:Since when did Microsoft become a EU company (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about three weeks ago | (#47793665)

QED.

Quod erat demonstrandum means "which had to be demonstrated". You failed to state what you were demonstrating, and then failed to actually demonstrate anything (other than your use of the composition/division fallacy [yourlogicalfallacyis.com] ).

Re:customer-centric (1)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793455)

your safe deposit box example, if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it,

The analogy is right, your understanding of the law is not. If a USA company had records in a Europeans safe deposit box a USA federal court could demand they retrieve it and present it to the court. They would not have to get a warrant in Europe. That's an option of course but just an option.

Re:customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793553)

your safe deposit box example, if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it,

The analogy is right, your understanding of the law is not. If a USA company had records in a Europeans safe deposit box a USA federal court could demand they retrieve it and present it to the court. They would not have to get a warrant in Europe. That's an option of course but just an option.

Actually it depends, if the box belongs to someone else then no the US cannot order it be turned over. e.g. US Bank A with a Bank in London cannot be ordered by a US court to turn over the contents of a box to US, it must be done through the UK legal system as the US has no authority in London and even banks trading their must operate under the uk financial regulatory system.

Re:customer-centric (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about three weeks ago | (#47793549)

No, the others had it right. To draw on the analogy some more, the US isn't invading Europe to open the safe deposit box: it's ordering Microsoft to produce documents that it knows they possess, which is something that courts all over the world are allowed to do and do all the time. As a US company, Microsoft is subject to US law, even when abroad (e.g. laws outlawing bribes in foreign countries), including orders to produce the requested information. If I'm the bookkeeper for an organization, the courts can order me to produce the books, regardless of where I'm keeping them. Doesn't matter if they're in a safe, the Caymans, or outer space, I'm still expected to produce them...or provide a very good explanation for why I can't.

And that's the important wrinkle here: producing the documents would force Microsoft to violate laws in the countries where the documents are actually located. For all the US courts knew, maybe Microsoft had a server farm in Redmond where the files were located, so it's possible that Microsoft could have produced the documents without violating any laws. Now that they've made it clear that isn't the case, however, it's time for the courts to decide which way things should go.

Even so, I think it's pretty obvious that the US knew full-well what it was doing and that they're not acting in good faith nor anyone's best interests. As an American, the last thing I want to see is that data getting handed over.

Re:customer-centric (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about three weeks ago | (#47793559)

This isn't seizing. This is ordering an entity to produce evidence. Yes, the US could order a US company to produce the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe. If the company doesn't comply, the US arm would be fined until it does comply. That is if the US couldn't get cooperation from local authorities to get it seized.

The US government isn't saying anything about other countries' laws not applying. The US government is saying its own do. Where there is a conflict, it really isn't the US government's problem, it's MS' problem.

And this whole thing works in reverse too. US companies in the EU are required to comply with EU laws, including producing evidence that is outside of the EU.

Just to wonder, if you really believe that out of the US is out of the US' reach, you must be really shocked to hear of the IRS now finding out about money in offshore accounts and taxing people on it, eh?

Re:customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793591)

Actually the US's position has been stated that the other countries laws don't apply as they don't believe Data has the same protection rights as physical goods. The US is in stark contrast to the laws and views of all other countries on this. And no companies are not generally forced to produce evidence on others outside of their jurisdiction, The onus is on the government to go to the country where te evidence resides and enlist the coroperation of local authorities. The US is trying to say that normal rules and laws don't apply because it is data rather than physical goods.

Re:customer-centric (3, Interesting)

Whatsisname (891214) | about three weeks ago | (#47793615)

if the US wanted the contents of a safe deposit box in Europe they cannot legally seize it, doing so would be a violation of europan law

They can't take the box by force, but the US can instead throw you, the owner of it, in the slammer until you cough up the requested evidence. Where the evidence is, is irrelevant.

Re:customer-centric (4, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about three weeks ago | (#47793409)

Actually they data is in Europe the judge is trying to say since they have access to it from the US they need to turn it over. The data is under the control of a division incorporated in Europe.

There is established procedure to get this it called ask the European courts.

Re:customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793607)

No, the established procedure is to order the owning and controlling party (US Microsoft) to produce the data. If US Microsoft refuses, the US government can ask the Irish government to cooperate by either issuing a warrant against Irish Microsoft, or seizing the data, or whatever.

But this specific order is against US Microsoft, located in the US, to do something in the US, in accordance with US laws.

Re: customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793411)

Are you an idiot? Jurisdiction in this case is important, not whether a law is being broken. These US companies have subsidiaries in the countries where they store the data, thus applying sovereignty to that country. While, for example the case of Nicuarga v United States comes into thought as they disregarded the ruling, this isn't just affecting a small third world country: this decision will influence the US relationship with every single country that they have any kind of trade agreement or treaty with.

The US will bring about their downfall if no country can think that their resources are safe in the US's hands. I have trouble now getting things approved for usage in Australia that are owned by the US due to this paranoia and this will significantly escalate the risk of doing business with a company that claims the US as it's home.

While I generally discount the effect of international law, this is the one case where it should be taken seriously. Let's also not forget that technically international treaties are enshrined in law, so if there is a existing agreement then only the State Department can make a ruling on whether they decide to absolve themselves of its requirements.

Re:customer-centric (1)

dave562 (969951) | about three weeks ago | (#47793467)

Are the emails that the government wants the emails of Americans or Europeans? If they belong to the latter, and they are stored on European servers, it is calls into question on what legal basis the United States government has to view those emails.

For what it is worth, I work for a United States based company that works in the legal technology field. We have operations in Europe. We had to stand up separate infrastructure in Europe in order to comply with European data privacy laws for our European clients. The assumption is that European data in European data centers is not subject to American legal jurisdiction.

Re:customer-centric (1)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793443)

The answer is going to be yes. The USA government can order USA companies to break other country's laws. The alternative would be that the USA loses sovereignty on its own soil. I'd say that Microsoft is just making it crystal clear there is a real problem so perhaps a treaty can be negotiated.

Re:customer-centric (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793477)

It's all just a matter of legal principle. Can any internet company be publicly ordered to break laws in other countries, regardless of where it is based. So M$ is challenging the order to publicly establish a principle and protect it and all other internet companies in this regard. Technically speaking all other internet companies are now getting a free ride on M$'s dime, so it seems sometimes they do pay back to the industry. This is an important principle of law and something the US Federal government should be paying attention to and legislating to ensure the future of all US internet companies is not severely threatened.

Should a bank be publicly orederd to break laws in other countries, regardles of where it is based? That has already been answered in the affirmative. Banks are held to the laws of the country they are chartered in. Why should internet companies be different? Microsoft has no problem trying to hold foreign companies liable for US patent infringement, even if their local patent laws are different. Companies can't have it both ways. If you are a US company, you can't cry foul when US laws work against you but turn around a use US laws only when they are in your favor.

Re:customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793287)

Microsoft's actions might seem "customer-centric," but really they're fighting for their lives.

If MS can be forced to give up European data, stored on European servers, that's game over for them.
Lawsuits and investigations will flourish in Europe, because their data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than ours.

This could kill MS's European business.

Which would kill Microsoft because that would provide enough of a critical mass to overcome the barriers to entry that Microsoft has erected in the Office market - wipe Microsoft out of Europe, and Europe would move to a truly open document format. And to communicate with Europe, the US markets would have to be able to read/write such formats - and actually do it WELL.

And once that happens, the money Microsoft makes on Office is gone....

Maybe we should be cheering this judge on?

Re:customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793439)

Once Office is gone, Linux on the desktop is in. Office is the reason why businesses need windows on client, and exchange servers on the back end. Game over man, game over.

Re:customer-centric (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793485)

Next Year: The year of Linux on the Desktop!

  -- Every Slashdot Freetard Ever

Re:customer-centric (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793481)

Microsoft's actions might seem "customer-centric," but really they're fighting for their lives.

If MS can be forced to give up European data, stored on European servers, that's game over for them.
Lawsuits and investigations will flourish in Europe, because their data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than ours.

This could kill MS's European business.

Which would kill Microsoft because that would provide enough of a critical mass to overcome the barriers to entry that Microsoft has erected in the Office market - wipe Microsoft out of Europe, and Europe would move to a truly open document format. And to communicate with Europe, the US markets would have to be able to read/write such formats - and actually do it WELL.

And once that happens, the money Microsoft makes on Office is gone....

Maybe we should be cheering this judge on?

This case is about a search warrant for a suspect's email that happens to be hosted on a server that Microsoft owns in Ireland. Even if Microsoft has to comply with the law, it won't have the impact you are implying.

Re:customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793361)

Exactly. If they are successful with breaking the law and showing they're a company that doesn't think ethics, morals, or even the law applies to them, then expect no company to ever want to sign a contract with them. Lawless companies like Enron, Arthur Andersen, or Stratton Oakmont are quickly killed because of their culture of not following the law.

Re:customer-centric (2)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793421)

Microsoft has protected themselves. Their notices indicate that giving data to Azure is agreement to exporting the data. Thus Azure cannot store data for which export is illegal. Essentially they are in a terrible bind where USA law and European law conflict and now they are pushing against both with two different strategies.

IMHO there is no chance they win their appeal in the USA federal courts. USA courts are not going to allow court ordered subpoenas to not be binding because the entity being subpoenaed thinks they have a good reason not to hand over what the court demands.

Re:customer-centric (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about three weeks ago | (#47793597)

Microsoft's actions might seem "customer-centric," but really they're fighting for their lives.

If MS can be forced to give up European data, stored on European servers, that's game over for them.
Lawsuits and investigations will flourish in Europe, because their data protection laws are much stronger/stricter than ours.

This could kill MS's European business.

What largish Linux push in Europe was squashed in favor of MicroSoft products?

Microsoft has a lot to lose if they ignore international law and act as
the blind agent of a US court.

China is working to replace all MS and Cisco software already as
well as replace all Intel and other non-Chinese processors with their own
chip designs. Their early hardware efforts have shown that there
are few technical problems in their way to nationalize large markets.

Customer-centric? (2)

DarkFencer (260473) | about three weeks ago | (#47793133)

I don't see them as customer-centric as much as self-serving. There is definitely a trend of non-US companies moving or thinking of moving their data off US servers. Moving them off US company/subsidiary servers in other countries is a huge threat to Nadella's cloud-focused Microsoft.

It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

More accuratly "self preservation" (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about three weeks ago | (#47793163)

It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

Of course it's "self interest", and more accuratly "self preservation". Micrsoft is a business that ultimatly has to answer to their stockholders. If it comes to pass that US "law enforcement" can reach out and get personal data from non-US servers, it will completely destroy Microsoft's European business, due the the much stricter data privacy laws in Europe. It would be "game over" for Microsoft in Europe.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (3, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about three weeks ago | (#47793177)

By a not too unreasonable extension of the theory that allows the judge to compel microsoft to deliver things they control on a computer in another country - I see no reason exactly the same would not apply to compelling them to deliver a personalised update to one particular computer and deliver access to that computer - wherever in the world it was, and whoever owned it.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (3, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about three weeks ago | (#47793183)

Well its not just MS, ANY company. Google, Apple, etc would be effected by this as well.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about three weeks ago | (#47793219)

Well its not just MS, ANY company. Google, Apple, etc would be effected by this as well.

Of course. Which is why all the multi-nationals that you mention will weigh in with "Friend of the Court" briefs.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (1, Troll)

zennyboy (1002544) | about three weeks ago | (#47793237)

*affected

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793241)

Not just any company, only companies operating in multiple countries that are just trying to benefit from each countries privileges but not fulfilling those responsibilities.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about three weeks ago | (#47793321)

Well its not just MS, ANY company. Google, Apple, etc would be effected by this as well.

The technical solution would be to design their storage in such a way that it is _impossible_ for the company to read a customer's data.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793509)

It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

Of course it's "self interest", and more accuratly "self preservation". Micrsoft is a business that ultimatly has to answer to their stockholders. If it comes to pass that US "law enforcement" can reach out and get personal data from non-US servers, it will completely destroy Microsoft's European business, due the the much stricter data privacy laws in Europe. It would be "game over" for Microsoft in Europe.

No, it won't. Europeans will still have the same protections they do under their laws. However, US citizens committing a crime in the US won't be able to store their data on foreign servers of American companies and have it safe from authorities. In otherwords, if a US crime is committed, it doesn't matter where the US company hosts its server farm, it is still under the control of that company and subject to the authorities.

If Microsoft wins this challenge, then there will be no server farms in the US because any that were overseas would be exempt from US authorities. Just think of something as mundane as tax avoidance. The IRS comes in and asks to see your companies data, but you don't have to give it to them because it is in a different country? Or let's say some government agency stores its data in Canada. Now it is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act?

The reality here is that if Microsoft wins, there will no longer be a tech industry in the US because what is left will move overseas to avoid US laws.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about three weeks ago | (#47793589)

No, it won't. Europeans will still have the same protections they do under their laws. However, US citizens committing a crime in the US won't be able to store their data on foreign servers of American companies and have it safe from authorities. In otherwords, if a US crime is committed, it doesn't matter where the US company hosts its server farm, it is still under the control of that company and subject to the authorities.

You are incorrect. the case would impact Europian Microsoft customers as well. Indeed, the account in question is almost certainly held by a non-American.

Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793655)

No, it won't. Europeans will still have the same protections they do under their laws. However, US citizens committing a crime in the US won't be able to store their data on foreign servers of American companies and have it safe from authorities. In otherwords, if a US crime is committed, it doesn't matter where the US company hosts its server farm, it is still under the control of that company and subject to the authorities.

You are incorrect. the case would impact Europian Microsoft customers as well. Indeed, the account in question is almost certainly held by a non-American.

Only if those European Microsoft customers broke a US law and used Microsoft to house the data about such criminal activity on their servers. The US still needed a warrant in this case to obtain the data in question. It would take a US court to tell Microsoft to turn over data on a foreign citizen and there would have to be cause to do that. So, it is likely that the only European Microsoft customers that would be effected are those that happen to break US laws.

Re:Customer-centric? (1)

celeb8 (682138) | about three weeks ago | (#47793213)

Self serving and customer-centric are one and the same in this case. I see nothing wrong with that, and I have nothing but respect for Microsoft doing this. They will likely be facing down some pretty serious daily fines while they wait for this to play out, at least judging from how cases like this have gone in the past. Good on them, whatever their motives.

Re:Customer-centric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793415)

I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that customer-centric actions are self-serving in all cases, insofar as customers are required for survival.

Re:Customer-centric? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793519)

Self serving and customer-centric are one and the same in this case. I see nothing wrong with that, and I have nothing but respect for Microsoft doing this. They will likely be facing down some pretty serious daily fines while they wait for this to play out, at least judging from how cases like this have gone in the past. Good on them, whatever their motives.

Microsoft is fighting a warrant about turning over a customer's emails in a criminal case. Are you really arguing because the electrons are sitting on an SSD in Ireland, the criminal should go free, even though Microsoft has full control over those electrons? The individual didn't instruct Microsoft to store the data there, Microsoft did it of its own volition.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (1)

waferbuster (580266) | about three weeks ago | (#47793227)

I think Microsoft is doing the right thing here. Did the feds forget to include the double-secret gag order with their request/demand? Proclaiming this demand far and wide is going to put it squarely in the public eye.

Not that I personally have anything to worry about, as I always assume people are reading my emails. And being bored to tears by them.

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793281)

I think Microsoft is doing the right thing here. Did the feds forget to include the double-secret gag order with their request/demand? Proclaiming this demand far and wide is going to put it squarely in the public eye.

Not that I personally have anything to worry about, as I always assume people are reading my emails. And being bored to tears by them.

We know about your "interesting" activities that you think are gone and buried. ;)

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793647)

Nah, the guy reading your emails was replaced by a simple shell script.

You Fai7 It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793273)

racist? How is 4nows that ever maggot, vomit, shit

And on a side note... (4, Insightful)

MindPrison (864299) | about three weeks ago | (#47793275)

...anyone who seriously store sensitive information on a cloud service like free-email, should be spanked with a trout over and over again.

re I don't care (5, Informative)

jelizondo (183861) | about three weeks ago | (#47793291)

Frankly, I don't care if MS is standing up out of self-interest or for some other cause, the tyrants in D.C. need to be stopped. Period.

You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

Many U.S. organizations have presence and pay taxes in many different jurisdictions, making them subject to that particular territory's law. Will the U.S. allow some other country to violate U.S. laws because the subsidiary is present, in say, Aman and thus, by extension, the entire organization is subject to Aman's Law?

The answer is no, because jurisdiction is territorial. You can't apply Ireland's law to MS in the U.S. simply because they have a corporate office there, thus the reverse is true too: you can' t apply U.S. law to a subsidiary in Ireland.

Who owns it is irrelevant; corporations are legal entities of their own, regardless of ownership. Ships owned by, say Americans (most cruise ships for example), are registered in Panama, thus bypassing U.S. Labor laws because who owns them is irrelevant.

Trust me, you don't want to go there: it will open lawsuits against U.S. firms, under U.S. laws, against the owners of such ships and other corporations that use underage labor, exceed working hours / conditions, etc. in other countries.

It would basically make International Law obsolete as we know it.

It appears that the U.S. Government is bent in destroying the American economy while 'preserving' American security.

Re:re I don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793377)

it will open lawsuits against U.S. firms, under U.S. laws, against the owners of such ships and other corporations that use underage labor, exceed working hours / conditions, etc. in other countries.

That sounds like a good thing.

Re:re I don't care (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47793445)

You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

You can apply it to US citizens, no matter where they are in the world. There is plenty of legal precedent for this (you have to pay taxes on money made outside the US, for one example).

You can also apply it to corporations.

Re:re I don't care (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | about three weeks ago | (#47793523)

The motives of MS are fairly clear, they want it to be ordered with no options before they give up. But in the same vein of "it does not matter who said it, as long as it rings true", I see this as a good and true test of the long arm of federal data interrogation.
Does it really matter why? Their are not that many companies that can do this in a meaningful way. The fact that its Microsoft should not change the result that its being done. I have no particular love for them, but I do applaud them for making this public and tang the stand - even though it probably took thousands of man hours running hundreds of scenarios to come to this conclusion. An entity should be judged by their actions. They seem to be doing this.
At the same time, I would take this as evidence that MS is starting to see themselves as an underdog in the tech industry. They might not be wrong.

Re:re I don't care (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793543)

The answer is no, because jurisdiction is territorial. You can't apply Ireland's law to MS in the U.S. simply because they have a corporate office there, thus the reverse is true too: you can' t apply U.S. law to a subsidiary in Ireland.

And yet Microsoft has no problem trying to apply US patent and copyright laws against foreign companies. The reality here is that if I was the criminal in question and stored the data on my personal computer in Ireland, the US would ask the Irish to sieze the physical computer and turn it over and they would. However, Microsoft isn't the criminal, they are just the email provider who happens to be storing emails related to the criminal activity and happens to store it in Ireland. So, the authroities have issued a warrant to Microsoft for that data.

Now, if the US was trying to sieze Microsoft's servers in Ireland, that would be different. They are only asking for the emails of a person suspected of a US crime. When this started, it wasn't even known they were stored in Ireland. Microsoft brought that up because they thought that was the only way to keep from turning over a customer's emails.

I would suspect that if Microsoft prevails, it won't be for long as we will see new laws about data laundering just like happened with money laundering through foreign banks.

Re:re I don't care (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about three weeks ago | (#47793575)

Quick caveat that needs to be made here: the US courts are free to request any data at all from Microsoft, and the onus is (as it should be) on Microsoft to deny the request if it would mean breaching a law. After all, what's the alternative? Have the government first make a request of Microsoft for the locations of where the data is being stored, then tell Microsoft, "hey, we checked, and the laws over there are totally cool with this request, so hand it over"? The system is working how it should: a request is made, and the entity producing the document pushes back when necessary.

What the government shouldn't be free to do, however, is to compel Microsoft to produce the data once Microsoft has made it clear that doing so will result in a breach of European privacy laws. So far, we're still at the "request" phase, and Microsoft is now pushing back. If the appeals court comes down on the side of the government though, that'd be tragedy of immense proportions.

Re:re I don't care (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about three weeks ago | (#47793619)

You can't apply U.S. laws to the world at large, regardless of your 'legal' standing.

If a US Citizen goes elsewhere in the world to commit a crime, they can and do get prosecuted here for that crime. So your statement, as-is, is wrong. US Laws apply to the US, and all of its people (and businesses), regardless of where they are at the moment.

Many U.S. organizations have presence and pay taxes in many different jurisdictions, making them subject to that particular territory's law.

Other laws may apply as well, but that does not negate US law. But since you brought up taxes, that is another thing that gets paid here, regardless of where you happen to be or where you earned it. Some nations have treaties with the US that allow you to deduct your local tax burden from your US taxes, but not all, and not necessarily 100% even when a treaty exists.

Will the U.S. allow some other country to violate U.S. laws because the subsidiary is present, in say, Aman and thus, by extension, the entire organization is subject to Aman's Law?

The answer is no, because jurisdiction is territorial.

The answer is actually "LOL what you gonna do about it?!". That is why anybody hacking US computers is an act of war, but the US hacking Iran's without the Constitutionally required Congressional declaration of war, is just business as usual. It is why Obama launched a couple drone missiles into Yemen, killing two US citizens, including a 16 year old citizen and a few other non-US Yemenese, without approval from Yemen's government; and a bunch of SEALs landed in Pakistan without approval and shot and killed bin Laden; while the only apology Yemen or Pakistan got was a big brown middle finger. You're talking like violating the sovereign borders and laws of a foreign nation is something unprecedented.

Ships owned by, say Americans (most cruise ships for example), are registered in Panama, thus bypassing U.S. Labor laws because who owns them is irrelevant.

They bypass some US laws because they primarily operate in open waters and we agreed to let them bypass some laws just to get them to come here because Americans like to ride in boats. They don't get to bypass all laws... just some, which are documented.

Trust me, you don't want to go there: it will open lawsuits against U.S. firms, under U.S. laws, against the owners of such ships and other corporations that use underage labor, exceed working hours / conditions, etc. in other countries.

It has already become a cost of doing business, like any other, and will be reflected in the price you pay. If the cost becomes too great, they will lobby Congress to change it; or leave the US completely and we will lobby congress to change the laws.

It would basically make International Law obsolete as we know it.

Israel finished closing all those illegal settlements in the West Bank yet? International law is one of the longer running jokes on this planet.

Do no evil by Microsoft! (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about three weeks ago | (#47793293)

This is actually amazing, the 'Do No Evil' principle upheld by Microsoft! What an exciting and interesting development this is. Yes, you heard me right, USA courts and government are the agents of evil and Microsoft is now on the side of the individual rights.

Globalization (3, Insightful)

jmd (14060) | about three weeks ago | (#47793305)

I'm suspecting the zeal MS is showing in challenging the US gov't has more to do with laying the groundword of "nation-states" being neutered. This is about power in the future. If they win against the US gov't this is just one more nail in the coffin of the battle to make governments useless. This goes hand in hand with the Trans Pacific and other trade agreements. These things are designed to strip power from government.

This is just one more step in the march of capitalism that will likely destroy civilization in the long run.

Re:Globalization (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793327)

I would imagine it is laying groundwork for tax inversion.

Re:Globalization (4, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | about three weeks ago | (#47793427)

I would imagine it is laying groundwork for tax inversion.

I already replied in this argument, but this is probably the most insightful comment I've seen on this story. Setting up a very good reason why they should relocate their HQ for tax purposes (i.e., privacy of their files) seems a good PR move to offset any public outcry.

This is huge ... (4, Interesting)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about three weeks ago | (#47793315)

People and businesses and governments everywhere will be watching this one.

If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

And, as mentioned, people, businesses and governments are already skeptical of the cloud, anyway.

People, businesses and governments may force "data nationalism" to become the norm.

Re:This is huge ... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47793451)

If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

Germany can try. Or they can seize all Microsoft assets in Germany, and kick Microsoft out. Argentina recently did exactly that to a company from Spain.

Re:This is huge ... (1)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793473)

If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

Probably not. Microsoft is a USA company. OTOH they could do it for SAP Hana customers.

Re:This is huge ... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793561)

People and businesses and governments everywhere will be watching this one.

If America can force Microsoft to reach out to Ireland for data, then Germany (etc.) can force Microsoft to tunnel into America, right?

And, as mentioned, people, businesses and governments are already skeptical of the cloud, anyway.

People, businesses and governments may force "data nationalism" to become the norm.

They already can and have been doing so for years. If Microsoft wins, there will quickly be treatise signed with most countries allowing law enforcement to access data of their citizens suspected of criminal activity, just like happened with banking.

Agreeing with Gov? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47793335)

Am I the only one agreeing with the government on this? Companies shouldn't be able to hide from their government by transferring something to another country.

Transfer all financial transactions, HR transactions, monopoly collusions, and well everything through a cloud service based in some push-over country and suddenly you're excused from every local law because the data isn't stored here? That shouldn't be allowed to happen. It'd be like a weekend tourist site where for $99.99 you can fuck, torture, and kill a person then go back home to your family. Not all the tourists might make it back, but hey, mistakes happen. Sure a few places like that exist in the word, but they aren't legal and shouldn't be.

Re:Agreeing with Gov? (1)

jmd (14060) | about three weeks ago | (#47793417)

I agree. While the US gov't has a lot to account for, the truth multinationals take advantage of this scenario in any number of arenas. Tax invesrion and as you sugest, they might run emails that directly violate US laws onto foreign servers to exempt them from courts.

The truth is..we are laying the ground work for globalization. If governments cannot hold a multinational corporation accountable for any number of situations, who can?

Re:Agreeing with Gov? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793479)

No you aren't. The government is absolutely right. The threat to the functioning of the rule of law posed by the European position far outweigh the advantages of Microsoft getting a few extra sales for Azure.

Stop the US-centric crap already (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about three weeks ago | (#47793339)

The US needs to wake up to the fact that they are not "world law." Their law ends at the boundaries of the US.

It doesn't matter if the email account in question is owned by an American. It doesn't matter if the servers are indirectly owned by an American company.

They are in a foreign jurisdiction and the US government needs to go through the judicial and legal processes of that jurisdiction if they want access to the data.

Quite frankly, fuck the "war on terror", the "war on drugs", and every other tired old excuse the US government and it's subservient courts use to try to justify shoving the US legal system down the world's throat.

Re:Stop the US-centric crap already (2)

msobkow (48369) | about three weeks ago | (#47793353)

The US could take a page from the Russians on the whole issue of legal jurisdiction. The Russians have mandated that all corporate and personal data hosted by "the cloud" must be on servers on Russian soil so there is no question of legal jurisdiction when they're trying to investigate and prosecute a case involving a Russian entity.

The US and every other nation should be doing the same thing: mandating that the data owned by their citizens and corporations be hosted in country so that it can't be "hidden" by legal loopholes of the jurisdiction where the data resides.

But, hey, the US cloud operators don't want to invest in that many offshore nodes/clusters, and they're the ones paying off Congress and the Senate, so I doubt we'll see such sane legislation passed in my lifetime. Far easier to try to shove your legal system down international throats, eh?

Pffft. I fart towards the south...

Re:Stop the US-centric crap already (1)

dave562 (969951) | about three weeks ago | (#47793489)

This is already being done. I mentioned it in a previous post on this topic. I work for a company that does legal technology in both America and Europe. We had to stand up separate infrastructure in Europe to host data for our Europeans clients. They do not want their data coming anywhere near American servers.

Re:Stop the US-centric crap already (1)

jbolden (176878) | about three weeks ago | (#47793495)

No it doesn't. Microsoft is a US entity. They aren't European. If you want European law then keep your data on European servers. Europe has a rich collection of local cloud providers. But you use Azure you are exporting your data to the USA.

The USA doesn't shove their laws down other countries throats. You don't want USA law don't buy USA products.

They are not defying an order (5, Informative)

debrain (29228) | about three weeks ago | (#47793363)

Notwithstanding some really rare cases (e.g. interlocutory), which this does not appear to be, an order is unenforceable while under appeal.

Doing what an order asks is grounds for dismissal of an appeal, notwithstanding cases where acts are made explicitly with the agreement of the parties and sometimes affirmation of the court to be without prejudice to the right of appeal. However in cases of disclosure of information, the disclosure is generally a form of prejudice (since it cannot be undone) that undermines appellate entitlement.

So it is wrong to say they are are defying an order. They are doing what everyone does on appeal.

If they were to defy an order they could be held in contempt of court. That would be an interesting story.

Re:They are not defying an order (4, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793581)

Notwithstanding some really rare cases (e.g. interlocutory), which this does not appear to be, an order is unenforceable while under appeal.

Doing what an order asks is grounds for dismissal of an appeal, notwithstanding cases where acts are made explicitly with the agreement of the parties and sometimes affirmation of the court to be without prejudice to the right of appeal. However in cases of disclosure of information, the disclosure is generally a form of prejudice (since it cannot be undone) that undermines appellate entitlement.

So it is wrong to say they are are defying an order. They are doing what everyone does on appeal.

If they were to defy an order they could be held in contempt of court. That would be an interesting story.

Actually, the judge lifted the freeze on the court order, so Microsoft is in fact defying it. Microsoft states they plan to appeal, but until they do appeal, they are still defying it.

Thoughts (2)

DaMattster (977781) | about three weeks ago | (#47793381)

This isn't altruistic of Microsoft but I'm happy they are putting up a fight just the same.

Right. (-1)

carys689 (1637065) | about three weeks ago | (#47793487)

Finally, Microsoft does something right.

Profit centric, not customer centric (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about three weeks ago | (#47793577)

> Let there be no doubt that Microsoft's actions in this controversial case are customer-centric.

Nonsense. It is protecting their millions, even billions of dollars of international business, especially for their hosted email services, to make a public display of fighting this court order. It also helps protect their US business: publicly refusing a US order helps provide a history of customer privacy awareness when they try to resist a Chinese or Russian or EU court order for US held data.

And this is not an NSA "Patriot Act" order, which don't require judges and can be far, far broader than a typical search warrant or subpoena.

Maybe... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about three weeks ago | (#47793593)

Maybe the US should suspend all Microsoft contracts it has while Microsoft refuses to comply with the court order.

Yahoo and MS quickly turn over to Chinese gov. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about three weeks ago | (#47793635)

I wonder if they will now turn it over to ISIS and AQ if they demand it?
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