The Irish government has raised concerns with the US over its 'objectionable' attempts to seize cloud data stored on Microsoft servers in Ireland in the latest twist in a case that could have major implications for the cloud market.
Minister for data protection Dara Murphy said that if Microsoft did hand over the data – despite currently refusing to do so – it would set a precedent that could cause serious problems for cloud providers across the European Union (EU).
“This would create significant legal uncertainty for Irish and EU consumers and companies regarding the protection of their data, which, in this digital age, is everyone’s most valuable asset,” he said.
Murphy revealed that he had met with members of the European Commission (EC) to discuss the case and was liaising with the Irish Office of the Attorney General to consider the implication of the ruling.
“As the EU’s only member state with a minister with the specific portfolio of data protection, Ireland is determined to be at the fore of these efforts and, in this regard,” he added.
Murphy said Ireland and the US enjoyed a good working relationship on areas relating to issues such as data transfers, so he found the current methods being used to gather access to the information questionable.
“Co-operation in the area of law enforcement is a fundamental element of our international relations, in particular with our partners in the US, which is why the issue of the transfer of the data itself is not objectionable, but rather the process that is being utilised.”
The comments come a few days after US Judge Loretta Preska removed a stay on her initial order that had temporarily halted any move to force Microsoft to hand the data over. Microsoft now faces a possible contempt of court charge if it refuses to comply with the new ruling.
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