Apple and Cisco have decided to back Microsoft in challenging a US search warrant for customer emails stored on an overseas data centre, CNET is reporting. Other companies who have previously lined up in support of the software giant’s position include AT&T, Verizon and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
EFF has also added in its filing that US warrants don’t apply to emails stored on an overseas server:
“The Fourth Amendment protects from unreasonable search and seizure. You can’t ignore the ‘seizure’ part just because the property is digital and not physical,” said EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury in a statement Friday. “Ignoring this basic point has dangerous implications — it could open the door to unfounded law enforcement access to and collection of data stored around the world.”
According to court papers, Microsoft has refused to comply with a December warrant for a customer’s email data stored in Dublin, Ireland, that the US government is seeking in connection with a criminal investigation. “”The government takes the extraordinary position,” the filing reads, “that by merely serving such a warrant on any US-based email provider, it has the right to obtain the private emails of any subscriber, no matter where in the world the data may be located”.
Meanwhile, the government has said its filing that Microsoft’s position would have a “devastating impact on the government’s ability to conduct criminal investigations”.