Second Circuit declines to review Microsoft email privacy case News
Second Circuit declines to review Microsoft email privacy case

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] on Tuesday declined [order, PDF] a request for re-hearing en banc a 2016 case in which it quashed a warrant filed by the government under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) [text] in order to access customer emails to corporations stored on servers outside of the country. The court decided that the US could not force companies to turn over customer emails stored outside of the US. Those dissenting argued that the case should be re-heard as it is a “matter of exceptional importance” to both national security and public safety; that the use of the term-of-art “warrant” made it necessary to determine whether this was a domestic or potentially international issue. They also argue that the July 14th decision broke down cooperation between corporations and law enforcement. Peter Carr [official profile], a spokesperson for the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website], stated [Reuters report] that they are “reviewing the decision and its multiple dissenting opinions and considering their options.”

Technology continues to raise important privacy questions. In April Microsoft sued [JURIST report] the DOJ regarding the privacy of their customers’ emails. Microsoft filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in an attempt to block authorities from taking customer emails without Microsoft’s knowledge. Also in April, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that obtaining phone location records without a warrant was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. In November 2015 the US Supreme Court rejected a case [JURIST report] to determine whether it is necessary to obtain a search warrant when law enforcement requests access to cell phone location data. In October of 2015 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law [JURIST report] the California Electronic Communications Act (CECA), a law that many are touting as a substantial step forward for digital privacy and protecting users’ rights. The law, which was approved alongside more than 10 other bills, bars any state’s law enforcement agency or other investigative entity from requesting sensitive metadata from persons or businesses without a warrant. Also in October the European Court of Justice ruled [JURIST report] that EU user data transferred to the US by various technology companies is not sufficiently protected.