Should governments be able to look at your data when it is abroad? A test case is set to determine whether the FBI can access Microsoft’s foreign data

Suppose FBI agents were to break into the postbox of an American company in Dublin to seize letters which might help them convict an international drug dealer. There would be general uproar, if not a transatlantic crisis. But that is essentially what the FBI wants to happen, albeit in the virtual realm: it has asked a court to order Microsoft, in its capacity as a big e-mail provider, to hand over messages from a suspect in a drugs case which are stored in a data centre in Ireland. On September 9th an appeals court in New York will hear oral arguments on whether Microsoft has to comply.The case has many wrinkles, mainly due to the fact that the relevant American laws were written before the internet took off. In a sense, the court has to guess what lawmakers would have written into legislation if the global network had already been around. But at the core of the case is one of the most knotty legal questions in the age of cloud computing: how to give law-enforcement agencies access to evidence when laws remain national, but data are often stored abroad and sometimes even at multiple places at once?
www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21663902-test-case-set-determine-whether-fbi-can-access-microsofts-foreign-data-should

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