Microsoft has told a US court that it will not hand over customer data stored on servers in Ireland just because a warrant exists in the US.
The refusal is a continuation of a dispute that began in April when a US court ruled that a warrant for the release of customer information covers all data regardless of where it is stored.
Microsoft said in its latest submission to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeal in New York that the demand overreaches the US government's powers and that, while it will comply with lawful requests, it will not comply when the data is stored overseas.
Brad Smith, Microsoft's lead counsel, said in a Microsoft on the Issues blog post that the firm is standing up for the right to privacy.
"The government puts at risk the fundamental privacy rights Americans have valued since the founding of the postal service," he said.
"This is because it argues that, unlike your letters in the mail, emails you store in the cloud cease to belong exclusively to you.
"Instead, according to the government, your emails become the business records of a cloud provider.
"Because business records have a lower level of legal protection, the government claims it can use a different and broader legal authority to reach emails stored anywhere in the world."
Smith argued that the warrants currently served do not apply to the data stored in Ireland, and that the law needs to be reformed.
"We believe in the need to strike a better balance between security and privacy. That's why we brought this case and why we continue to call on both the Administration and Congress to introduce reforms," he wrote.
Microsoft had been found in contempt of court for failing to hand over the data before the appeal, although no action was taken against the company.
The Irish government has voiced its own concerns about the demands, with minister for data protection Dara Murphy calling the US's attempts to use the courts to access data in this manner 'objectionable'.
For more information on the cloud, visit the Intel IT Center.
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