Emails Held Overseas Are Not Subject To U.S. Warrant

The Second Circuit in New York recently handed down a ruling that emails held in servers overseas are not subject to a warrant issued in the United States. Judge Susan Carney ruled that the government cannot use a domestic search warrant to compel disclosure of email data stored with a U.S. company outside the United States. Many are calling a victory for privacy rights for individuals and businesses. The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the Stored Communications Act of 1986 in a matter where the U.S. government had sought emails in connection with a drug trafficking investigation from Microsoft. Microsoft objected to the warrant, citing privacy rights provided under the law because the customer’s emails were stored exclusively on a server in Ireland. Federal prosecutors argued that exempting the emails would create a loophole that would keep criminals’ information out of reach of the the U.S. government.

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