Microsoft Pushes For Laws That Are Ready For The 21st Century

Image: iStock and Microsoft

An important court case is playing out in the US Supreme Court at the moment - one that has repercussions for all of us. Law enforcement agencies in the United States asked Microsoft to hand over data pertaining to the prosecution of an alleged drug trafficker. However, the data is held in servers in Dublin, Ireland. And Microsoft says US authorities can't force them to hand over data as its storage is covered under Irish law, not American. The matter is now with the US Supreme Court.

Further complicating the matter is that the US Congress is currently contemplating new laws regarding the storage of data, what jurisdictions apply when requesting it and what obligations service providers have in providing data when it might be held off-shore.

At the moment, and because America's justice system is as much about politics as the law it seems, the court seems split, largely along partisan political lines with conservative judges supporting the views of the law enforcement community with left-wing members asking why this is even a matter they need to consider seeing the Congress is considering updates to laws that were last revised over 30 years ago, when cloud systems weren't a thing.

Microsoft is arguing that the law needs to change and that Congress should sort it out.

This case, and other decisions being made around the world in courts and by legislatures, are facing an unprecedented time in human history. While the law has always struggled to keep up with technological change, the pace things are moving at today is exacerbating the problems. And the case Microsoft has been engaged in has been rumbling along for over four years already.

The Supreme Court isn't expected to rule on this case until the middle of the year.


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