A US judge has ordered Microsoft to turn over information stored in a data centres in Ireland, in a ruling that could have major implications for the cloud industry.
The case dates back to April when a magistrate judge in New York ruled that Microsoft must provide access to data, regardless of location. Even Microsoft’s rivals Apple voiced their concern with the ruling.
Microsoft appealed against the initial ruling but was again shot down in the courts, after US district judge Loretta Preska ruled in favour of the government. "It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” she was reported as saying.
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith has promised that the firm will appeal again. “The only issue that was certain this morning was that the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process,” he said.
“We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the US and around the world.”
Microsoft has been one of the most vocal companies to criticise the US government for its interference in the technology market, calling out the National Security Agency for creating friction between itself and customers due to the PRISM revelations.
However, if the ruling is upheld through the court process, Microsoft and other US cloud vendors will face major challenges convincing firms in other parts of the world, including Europe, to use their cloud services.
One silver lining of the ruling, though, could be that European-headquartered cloud firms will be beyond the reach of the US government, which may appeal to many businesses in the region and help them secure customers over their US rivals.
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