Just Security is pleased to announce the launch of an online symposium on United States v. Microsoft, which will be argued at the U.S. Supreme Court on February 27. The question in the case is whether Section 2703 of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) allows a court to order a U.S. provider of email services to disclose electronic communications stored outside the United States.
A part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, the SCA governs how electronic communications may and may not be lawfully accessed and disclosed. Section 2703 provides several mechanisms for the government to acquire communications, including a warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause.
In December 2013, a magistrate judge issued a Section 2703 warrant requiring Microsoft to disclose information for an email account that the government believed was being used to further illegal drug activity in the United States. Microsoft disclosed account-identification records that were stored in the United States, but it refused to disclose the contents of the emails that were stored at a datacenter in Ireland. Microsoft moved to quash the warrant as to all material stored abroad, arguing that it was an impermissible extraterritorial application of Section 2703. The magistrate judge denied the order to quash, and the district court affirmed.
Read the full post at Just Security.