US Appeals court will hear appeal over data grab in sovereign jurisdictions

Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/09/2015 - 08:29

Today the administration of US President Barack Obama will argue to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that companies operating in the US must comply with valid warrants for data that is stored on servers in other international jurisdictions.

The US government wishes believes it has a right to emails and other electronic records which are stored anywhere in the world, if these are held on (cloud) servers which are (indirectly) owned or controlled by US based providers. 

Microsoft has contested a warrant issued for data located on a Microsoft cloud server located in Dublin, Ireland. The position of the US government has been that the actual (physical) location of the data is not relevant. The control over the data is key and allows the US government to subpoena US companies to provide this data, without the knowlege of the data's owner or the cooperation of the respective authorities in the other sovereign jurisdiction. So far, the US lower courts have sided with the Obama administration: "It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information," US District Judge Loretta Preska ruled on July 31st, 2014.

The ruling of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being watched by many tech companies, as the implications are far reaching. If the Court of Appeals upholds the verdict of the Lower Court, any and all information stored on servers under the control of US legal entities will be at risk.

Our position in this case is very simple: Don't store your information on cloud servers controlled by US companies. There are numerous European and Swiss options. If you decide to store your data outside of your corporate network, and therefore outside of your control, we suggest you choose your provider wisely!