U.S. judge orders Google to hand over emails on foreign server

U.S. judge orders Google to hand over emails on foreign server

In a similar case, the US Department of Justice is considering going to the Supreme Court after an appeals court refused to revisit its July 2016 landmark ruling blocking government access to emails stored on Microsoft servers in Ireland. The specific emails that the FBI is requesting for them are part of a domestic fraud investigation.

In the ruling, the judge also wrote that there was "no meaningful interference" in the account holder's "possessory interest" in the data sought in the warrant, Reuters reported Sunday.

Google has used Microsoft's case as an example to challenge the ruling by the magistrate and has stated that it will appeal against the decision and "push back on overbroad warrants".

In line with the Microsoft ruling, Google argued that it had complied with warrants it had received for data the company knew to be stored in the U.S., but that some emails were stored outside the country to improve network performance. USA investigators had issued a search warrant for a drug related case. This opposes to a recent case involving Microsoft in which a Federal Appeal Court concluded that the company didn't need to comply with such orders.

"This court agrees with the Second Circuit's reliance upon Fourth Amendment principles, but respectfully disagrees with the Second Circuit's analysis regarding the location of the seizure and the invasion of privacy", wrote Judge Thomas Rueter in his ruling Friday. The company said that it complies with warrants it had received by handing over data the company knew was stored in the US. The court then felt that SCA did not authorize courts to serve notice, as well as, search of email content stored on foreign servers.

Google also says that the Microsoft case is a precedent that Judge Rueter chose to ignore. Rueter of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the customer emails in question were not protected and Google must surrender the emails.

Google receives about 25,000 data request from U.S authorities relating to criminal matters. Google considers that it is a clear invasion of privacy. That decision was largely applauded by tech companies, privacy groups, .the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

According to a report by Reuters, the judge mentioned that such data transfer from Google's servers overseas "has the potential for invasion of privacy" but the violation doesn't occur until "the time of disclosure in the United States".

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