Microsoft is in the middle of a legislative brawl with the U.S. Government. Microsoft is challenging the United States’ ability to demand data in other countries through search warrants. Although they lost their initial fight in court, Microsoft is warming up for the second round in the ring.
The initial issue that spurred up this smackdown was a U.S. search warrant for emails in Ireland, accessible through the cloud’s data footprint. The Vice-President of Microsoft, David Howard, said, “The U.S. government doesn’t have the power to search a home in another country, nor should it have the power to search the content of email stored overseas.” Howard continues in his address to explain how Microsoft respects the law enforcement’s duty to serve and protect, and Microsoft does not intend to stir up any problems. They just “believe the government should have to follow the processes it has established for obtaining physical evidence outside the United States.”
Although Microsoft is challenging the U.S. Government on this issue, and victory is a possibility, they may be neglecting the already internationally agreed upon Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty: allowing countries to request data from one another.
What this seems like is Microsoft’s attempt to defeat the Government for personal gain. David Howard portrays almost a belittling and patronizing tone by discussing how they truly appreciate the law enforcement’s responsibilities. Microsoft does not seem to be putting their strongest foot forward in this case; this will result in a probable strike down of the case. The question that is posed that needs to be answered is: Should information be protected as much as tangible items?