This is being hailed as a landmark case in data security and protection and important for users of cloud computing services. The case arose as the US department of Justice wanted to access data held in Ireland, but the appeals court ruling overturned an order issued by a court two years ago.
The DoJ is considering its next step and it is possible this case will go on to the Supreme Court. Microsoft has welcomed the news that it has won the case, saying that it is a ‘major victory for the protection of people’s privacy rights under their own laws’. The company has also said that it is now clear that the US Government does not have the authority to issue search warrants beyond the US’s own borders.
Microsoft thanked other technology companies that had supported it in its fight against the original ruling. The company was supported by the Open Rights Group, a UK-based company that fights for digital rights. The legal director of the group, Myles Jackman, has said that the US is now obliged to respect the digital privacy of European citizens.
Microsoft had previously warned that if the search warrant had to be carried out it would create a ‘free for all’ that could lead to other countries attempting to serve search warrants on servers within the US. However, law enforcement agencies are concerned that cloud computing is being used by criminals for storing data on illegal activity.