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US government lays claim to foreign-held data

US government lays claim to foreign-held data

The US government has filed its papers in an appeal case against Microsoft, arguing that any company with US operations must give up its customers data on request - even when said data and customers are on foreign soil.

The US government has declared that it has rights to request the disclosure of data held on foreign servers, arguing against an appeal that claimed Fourth Amendment protections on physical searches should extend to data held in the electronic realm.

Following a court case in which Microsoft was demanded to turn over email data stored on a system in its Dublin data centre to US authorities, the company issued an appeal that argued the Fourth Amendment to the US constitution - which protects against physical searches outside the US - should protect data held on foreign soil from release. While the hearing for that appeal has yet to take place, the US government has already outlined its argument - and it's not good news for privacy enthusiasts.

According to an analysis of the court filings by Ars Technica, the US government's response to Microsoft's appeal is to claim that the Stored Communications Act overrules the Fourth Amendment, stating that 'overseas records must be disclosed domestically when a valid subpoena, order or warrant compels their production,' arguing that a request for disclosure does not constitute a physical search.

If accepted, that argument would set a precedent that could have a chilling effect on the growth of the cloud computing industry. Any company with a US presence could be issued with a court order demanding the release of data from any of its customers, US-based or otherwise, from any of its data centres around the world and be forced to comply.

The appeal is due to be heard before the federal court on the 31st of July.

19 Comments

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Flibblebot 15th July 2014, 12:41 Quote
I'd have thought that, given that the data is held (presumably) wholly in another country, then surely International and Irish law would apply in this case, regardless of whether the owner or user is based in the US? Presumably the datacentre in Ireland is run by Microsoft Eire Ltd?

Of course, IANAL, and I'm sure common sense never counts when laws are made ;)

Given the effect that US spying in Germany has had recently, I don't think the US Government is in a position to start demanding data held in other countries.
Nexxo 15th July 2014, 13:04 Quote
Soon we'll have a booming cloud server industry in places like Switzerland and the Caiman Islands. "All your data are safe and confidential with us...". :D
ZERO <ibis> 15th July 2014, 21:54 Quote
Pretty sure constitution automatically renders any law that conflicts with its laws invalid. "Stored Communications Act overrules the Fourth Amendment" This is logically impossible as they are basically stating that the law is unconstitutional and is therefor invalid. A law other than a constitutional amendment can not override a law of the Constitution. Claiming that it does is the same as stating that it is logically not in agreement with the 4th and that it is therefore logically an invalid law.
forum_user 15th July 2014, 22:00 Quote
(Corrected, thanks G) If any IT managers still use cloud servers provided by any business with a branch based in the US then they don't deserve to hold on to their jobs, plus marched outside the office and fixed via firing squad.

(Added) personal view, plus **** day, equals drama statement in my post.
(Added) day 2. Only moderately better than the previous day, therefore extra drama injected into my post.
faugusztin 15th July 2014, 22:05 Quote
I think European companies should welcome this, as this makes it impossible for any US owned company to actually sell services to non-US territories, as they will be by law in violation with local laws, like EU data protection directive.
Nexxo 15th July 2014, 22:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
Pretty sure constitution automatically renders any law that conflicts with its laws invalid. "Stored Communications Act overrules the Fourth Amendment" This is logically impossible as they are basically stating that the law is unconstitutional and is therefor invalid. A law other than a constitutional amendment can not override a law of the Constitution. Claiming that it does is the same as stating that it is logically not in agreement with the 4th and that it is therefore logically an invalid law.

Indeed. But we all know that George Dubja Bush left his retard cooties* all over the White House which then went on to infect everyone who has entered the building since. So now the whole US government are retards.


*Particle physicists have postulated that Bush, like many dumbasses, emits morons: particles of cluelessness. When too many morons accumulate in a given space, they have a degenerative effect on reasons (particles of rationality) and slow down the speed of cognition. Hence we talk about "retards".
ZERO <ibis> 16th July 2014, 03:49 Quote
How in the hell does this have anything in any way to do with Bush!?
siliconfanatic 16th July 2014, 04:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
How in the hell does this have anything in any way to do with Bush!?
EVERYTHING


Very good point about constitutional superiority, but then nexxo is also correct, our government is composed of former dumbasses that have since put their brains on permanent leave and became full-time fu#ktards.
Harlequin 16th July 2014, 07:52 Quote
MS are caught between a rock and a hard place - and we will see a proxy `war` between the US and everyone else.
Nexxo 16th July 2014, 08:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
How in the hell does this have anything in any way to do with Bush!?
Quote:
Originally Posted by siliconfanatic
EVERYTHING


Very good point about constitutional superiority, but then nexxo is also correct, our government is composed of former dumbasses that have since put their brains on permanent leave and became full-time fu#ktards.

The whole US government went completely of its already precarious moral cliff when Bush came into office. It went hysterical.

The moron theory certainly has some weight when you observe the effect that George Bush had on the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. He went from reasonably bright, pragmatic politician to complete and utter 'tard as soon as Bush walked into the room. He has not been the same since. Seriously, I'm inclined to look for an alien parasite nestling in his brain stem or something.
Gareth Halfacree 16th July 2014, 08:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by forum_user
If any IT managers still use US cloud servers then they don't deserve to hold on to their jobs.
Read the article (or just the headline) again: the appeal is against the US requesting data from non-US cloud servers. You don't even have to be a US company to be targeted; just have a branch of your business in the US. The list of large-scale cloud providers that don't do business in the US would be very, very short.
forum_user 16th July 2014, 08:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Read the article (or just the headline) again: the appeal is against the US requesting data from non-US cloud servers. You don't even have to be a US company to be targeted; just have a branch of your business in the US. The list of large-scale cloud providers that don't do business in the US would be very, very short.

Thank you. Have corrected my original post! 110% **** day yesterday meant that I didn't get as far as any headlines! and even then mis-read them :(
Umbra 16th July 2014, 11:31 Quote
GCHQ probably has the data the US want already and will give it to them, isn't that what happened when the s**t originally hit the fan, it emerged that GCHQ had circumvented UK legal procedures and protocols by obtaining data on UK residents directly from the US, GCHQ then proclaimed that they had not broken any laws regarding surveillance and data gathering because they did not gather the data, they simply obtained it straight from the US, I'll show you mine if you...
RichCreedy 16th July 2014, 12:28 Quote
encrypted at source then stored on the cloud as encrypted, and encrypted again, surely the data would be useless

ps I haven't read the article yet, as there seems to be a problem with bit servers
Umbra 16th July 2014, 13:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
encrypted at source then stored on the cloud as encrypted, and encrypted again, surely the data would be useless

ps I haven't read the article yet, as there seems to be a problem with bit servers

Since when has encryption been an issue for NSA, GCHQ, they seem to have a backdoor to most encryption methods and have the dubious legal powers to eliminate any software and software developers that won't play ball with them :|
RichCreedy 16th July 2014, 13:32 Quote
it isn't only us companies developing encryption
Anfield 16th July 2014, 15:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
it isn't only us companies developing encryption

Irrelevant as they can simply choose between screaming Terrorists or Pedos and then you will be forced to hand over the encryption keys.
Nexxo 16th July 2014, 19:13 Quote
If they accuse me of being a paedo, I'll just bristle with indignation and say: "Sir, you confuse me with a member of parliament!".
ModSquid 17th July 2014, 15:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot

Of course, IANAL...

You do?

Sorry...:D
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