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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Supreme Court Drops Microsoft-Ireland Case

On April 17, the US Supreme Court dismissed the Microsoft-Ireland case on the grounds that Congressional enactment of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in March rendered the case moot.  Microsoft had objected to complying with a search warrant for data stored in Ireland that was based upon the 1986 Stored Communications Act, contending that the Act did not address judicial accessibility to data stored abroad.  The Cloud Act resolved this matter by providing an explicit legal basis for warrants to obtain data stored on foreign servers.  After the dismissal of the case, which both the Department of Justice and Microsoft supported, the DOJ served Microsoft with a new warrant for the Irish data.  Microsoft indicated that it is reviewing the warrant, although compliance with it is not a foregone conclusion.  During five years of litigation in the case, the company had argued that warrants should only be issued on the basis of relevant bi-lateral agreements with foreign countries; none have been negotiated between the US and Ireland.

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