For U.S. Tech Firms Abroad and Data in the Cloud, Whose Laws Apply?
That kind of frustration is causing more countries — not just Brazil — to skip the diplomatic route. In fact, American judges do it, too. A couple of years ago, a court in New York ordered Microsoft to turn over a user’s emails that were stored on a server in Ireland. That came as the result of a search warrant issued in a drug-trafficking investigation. Microsoft refused, saying American courts don’t have jurisdiction over data held overseas.
That case is still on appeal, and at a congressional hearing last week, Microsoft President Brad Smith said the broader trend is becoming a serious problem.
“We appreciate that law enforcement needs information sometimes located in other countries to do its job. But this approach to using unilateral process is causing concern around the world,” he told the House Judiciary Committee. “It is causing concern in other countries about people’s privacy rights. It is causing concern about whether other countries can even trust and use American products and technology.”