Google is being ordered by the court to hand over the emails of some users to FBI agents in order to do investigation if the Agents are carrying search warrants for those users. The court has mentioned that even if the emails are stored in any other location outside the United states Google still have to hand over the sensitive information.
The decision was passed by Thomas Rueter, a Judge of Philadelphia district. There was another case almost similar in nature involving Microsoft.
Judge Thomas Rueter says, “The decision does not qualify as Seizure”
In an earlier case with Microsoft The New York’s Appeal Court passed a ruling in which Microsoft doesn’t have to hand over the emails to FBI agents in persuasion of narcotics case because they were stored on a server outside United States in Ireland. But the Judge disqualify the argument raised by Google and said that this decision doesn’t qualify for seizure because there was no meaningful interference.
Google argued the invasion of privacy occurs when it retrieves the data from various locations on the globe. To boost the performance of network it keeps the emails in part at different servers as well so they are not really sure on which server the emails are kept. Rueter Argued, “The actual privacy infringement occurs when the information is disclosed in the United States”
“Google also plans to fight back against the ruling”
Google Is Planning To Appeal The Court Decision
Search warrants were issued according to the law which was established in 1986 named stored communications Act. Many tech companies consider this law outdated and becoming extremely irrelevant to the modern tech industry where the dynamics has changed how the information is stored.
Judge Susan L Carney, who was hearing the case of Microsoft accepted the flaws of the stored communications act, 1986 and commented that “We realize that the act is left behind to cope with modern technologies and their dynamics”
She also advocated making changes in the law according to international implications. Her decision in Microsoft case was not accepted as a reference in the same appeals courts previously and it looks like the ruling of Rueter will create more panic among tech industry and privacy advocates.
Image via: digital review
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