Microsoft is currently fighting a legal battle with U.S. federal prosecutors, who are ordering the company to disclose emails stored on a server based in Ireland.

The battle began in December, when a search warrant, requested by the federal government, was approved by a judge. The warrant was supposed to give prosecutors the right to obtain emails stored on a Dublin server owned by Microsoft. The prosecutors are looking to search the content of those emails from an unnamed customer in a criminal case. It is believed this person used Microsoft's service.

Microsoft has been fighting the court order since then, claiming that a domestic search warrant cannot be enforced on emails that are stored on an overseas server. However, in a decision made in April, federal magistrate judge James C. Francis sided with the feds, claiming their request was valid.

The legal fight has huge implications. On the one hand, there are fears that the government could gain the rights to access digital content from any server, located anywhere in the world, if their legal argument stands. On the other hand, a victory on Microsoft's side could be a big barrier in fighting criminals who might conduct their affairs overseas — or merely have their emails stored on a server overseas because that's where the service put them.

Verizon has already filed a legal brief supporting Microsoft's side, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is expected to do the same, along with other major corporations.

What do you think about this legal tussle? Should the federal government have the right to issue search warrants on servers owned by U.S. companies that are located overseas, or are they overstepping their bounds?

Source: New York Times