Microsoft Ruling a Setback to Data Privacy?

For any organization that relies on cloud-based email, there is an important legal decision that may affect your company’s data privacy. In the most recent round of judgment against Microsoft, there are noteworthy remarks from US District Judge Loretta Preska and lawyers for the US Justice Department.

  • “It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” said Judge Preska, in regards to Microsoft’s belief that the search warrant unlawfully extended federal prosecutors’ authority.
  • Federal prosecutor Serrin Turner said, “They have total control of those records, can produce them here, and that’s all that matters.” This in reaction to Microsoft’s assertion, “asking the company to produce the private emails of its customer held in Dublin amounted to ‘an invasion of Irish sovereignty’.”

Why are these statements important?

In the eyes of the US Justice Department and judicial branch, the location of email data is “irrelevant,” if the company that holds control over the data is located in the US.

While the battle between the US government and Microsoft is not over, it is getting closer to the highest court in the land. The matter is of such importance that several of the largest technology companies in the US — Cisco, AT&T, Verizon and Apple — have filed briefs with the courts to support Microsoft.

Data residency is a crucial component in ensuring data privacy, enough so that the EU passed data protection legislation earlier this year. For those looking to capitalize on the many benefits of cloud-based email, consider the location of the data storage and the company providing hosting services. To ensure sovereignty of data and end-user privacy, Zimbra has partnered with leading, local and regional, service providers to offer secure, open source cloud-based email.

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