US Government Loses on Overseas Data Searches

A federal appeals court has ruled that the U.S. government cannot seize user data in foreign data centers under the Stored Communications Act. The decision reverses a lower court opinion that would have required Microsoft to hand over the contents of an email account stored  in Ireland. The appeals court concluded that the purpose of the Act was to protect “users’ privacy interests in stored communications” not the creation of law enforcement powers that could reach overseas. The decision will likely bolster efforts to keep data in jurisdictions with stronger privacy safeguards. EPIC has recommended US ratification of the International Privacy Convention to preserve trans border data flows.

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