1. Microsoft and US government go to court
Again, Microsoft is resisting attempts by the US government to get access to the user data it is holding outside the US. Microsoft has been storing user data geographically closer to said user, as this not only reduces lag (improving the user experience) but, in theory at least, reduces the ability of governments to get access to that data.
The revelations by Edward Snowden of wide-scale access by the US government to data under the NSA’s Prism programme – particularly to data of non-US nationals – have given rise to a new global tension in the cloud sector.
Microsoft is taking a stand. The New York District Court ruled in the US government’s favour allowing it to rely upon the Stored Communications Act to get access to personal data that Microsoft had stored in Dublin. The company has yet to comply with the order running the risk that it will be held in contempt of court, leading to fines.
The latest salvo in this battle of the cloud came in December 2014, when Microsoft’s General Counsel published a list of companies and organisations who had filed “friend of the court” briefs supporting Microsoft’s position. This is an impressive list including technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, Cisco, eBay, HP, Rackspace, Salesforce and Verizon. It also includes 17 major news and media companies such as CNN, ABC, Fox News, Forbes and The Guardian.
This year is likely to be when we finally get resolution, one way or another. At stake is potentially the entire non-USA cloud business of US cloud providers.
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Part 1: Microsoft vs US.gov
Part 5: Cloud standards get closer
This post first appeared on The Channel | The Register as Microsoft vs US.gov, Internet of Stuff, Big Data: Some of 2015’s legal cloudy issues
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