MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – Microsoft was ruled by a US District Judge Loretta A. Preska on Thursday to comply with a warrant issued as part of a narcotics investigation to disclose a costumer’s emails and personal data which is stored in Dublin, Ireland.
Microsoft along with a number of other technology companies including Apple Inc, AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Cisco Systems Inc challenged the warrant earlier.
"It can't force American tech companies to turn over customer emails stored exclusively in company data centers in other countries," Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith wrote in a column in The Wall Street Journal.
"This dispute should be important to you if you use email, because it could well turn on who owns your email—you or the company that stores it in the cloud," Smith stressed.
However, after a two-hour federal court hearing in Manhattan, Judge Preska decided that the company was to yield to the search warrant and turn over the data regardless of the fact that it was stored in another country.
"It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information," Reuters cited Preska as saying. As the information is controlled by the US-based Microsoft, it can be handed over to the government without intruding on the sovereignty of Ireland.
The Judge, however, agreed to postpone her order from taking effect for Microsoft to be able to file an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Brad Smith announced of the company’s intention to do exactly that, saying that "the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process," as was cited on Microsoft’s official blog.
"We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the US and around the world," Smith.
The company’s determination to fight for its costumer’s privacy may lead the case straight to the United States Supreme Court.
Earlier in December Microsoft received a search warrant for emails of the company’s costumer as part of a narcotics investigation.
However, the case is classified, meaning there is no information as of yet on the agency which issued the warrant, or on the identity of the owner of emails in question.