Microsoft Continues Fight Against the US Govt: Your Email Belongs to You

The company issues new statement to express its commitment to user privacy

Microsoft continues the fight against the United States government to block requests for user data stored overseas, and in a new statement released today the company clearly emphasizes that it’ll do whatever it takes to protect your email.

While this indeed sounds like a PR stunt, Microsoft is actually one of the companies that have opposed requests for sharing user details on foreign data centers from the very beginning, getting involved in a dispute that was ultimately moved to the court.

A US judge however ordered the software giant to provide the government with access to user information on an Irish data center, but Microsoft was still offered the right to appeal the decision.

“So far the courts have sided with the U.S. government, but we are appealing the latest decision. This case could have important implications outside the US,” Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer, Microsoft, has said in a new statement today.

Lynch also explains that if such a request is approved by the court, other governments might follow with similar warrants for user information that’s not stored in their countries.

“Other governments could demand emails held in datacenters outside their jurisdiction. In fact, earlier this month the British government passed a law asserting its right to require tech companies to produce emails stored anywhere in the world. This would include emails stored in the U.S. by Americans who have never been to the UK,” the Microsoft executive adds.

In the end, the company says, it’s all a matter of building customers’ trust, so protecting their emails should be a critical point for every company out there.

“Microsoft is committed to delivering meaningful privacy protections that build trust with our customers, and we know how much you value the contents of your email. We believe your email belongs to you, not us, and that it should receive the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail--no matter where it is stored,” Lynch points out.

Microsoft has already said on several occasions that providing access to user data stored on foreign servers might lead to critical damages in terms of company image and trust among customers, which would eventually cause a significant drop in sales.

The company told the judge last month that a United States search warrant should only be valid in the country and not on data centers that are located overseas, but the court motivated the ruling by pointing to the fact that no matter the location of the data center, the information was managed by an American firm.

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