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Appeals Court Upholds Microsoft Victory In Overseas Data Case

Dissenting judges seek revision of earlier ruling, saying it does not serve any privacy interest.

The July 14 decision by a US court in favor of Microsoft regarding data stored overseas received a boost when the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan stood equally divided on the issue voting 4-4, Reuters reports. The US government’s request to Microsoft to access email stored in a Dublin server in a narcotics case had received widespread criticism from tech and media companies citing privacy issues.

The dissenters in the appeals ruling believed the required data could be accessed since Microsoft was a US company. They sought a revision of the earlier verdict, which was based on the 1986 Stored Communications Act, so that challenges facing law enforcement in terms of electronic data storage could be appropriately addressed.  

"It has substantially burdened the government's legitimate law enforcement efforts; created a roadmap for the facilitation of criminal activity; and impeded programs to protect the national security of the United States and its allies,” wrote Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes of the earlier ruling.

US Justice Department’s Peter Carr said the decision was being reviewed and options explored.

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