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Microsoft deadline to release Irish data

Thursday, September 04 14:13:49

A New York court has given Microsoft a deadline of tomorrow to hand over email data allegedly related to drugs trafficking stored in Ireland to the US government.

US authorities issued a warrant last December to access emails the US government says it believes to be linked to narcotics trafficking, but the data is stored in Microsoft's servers in Dublin.

In July 2014, US federal judge Loretta Preska ruled Microsoft had to comply with the data access request, as a US company in control of the data.

"It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information," Preska ruled.

Action to enforce the order was suspended, pending an appeal. But now Preska has lifted the suspension, saying the ruling is not open to appeal.

The judge may hold Microsoft in contempt if it fails to meet the deadline to comply with the order, which could further reduce trust in cloud-based services, reports The Guardian.

Today, Minister of State Dara Murphy, said that the way the US court has forced Microsoft to disclose foreign-held data is "objectionable" and could have implications across Europe.

Mr Murphy, who has special responsibility for data protection, said due process and an international treaty should be adhered to.

"Co-operation in the area of law enforcement is a fundamental element of our international relations, in particular with our partners in the US, which is why the issue of the transfer of the data itself is not objectionable, but rather the process that is being utilised”, he said.

"We must ensure that our data is afforded the maximum protection available and only transferred to other jurisdictions after the process set down in the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty has been followed."

Earlier this week, Microsoft issued a statement saying that it did not plan to hand over the email data, citing privacy concerns.

In its initial response to the warrant, Microsoft said the emails belonged to its customers; and that the servers were outside US jurisdiction.

For more visit: www.businessworld.ie