by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
American Internet Service Providers must divulge information about their customers to the US authorities even when the respective data and information is held on servers overseas. This according to a recent ruling by the Federal Court of New York. The US company Microsoft had apparently, but without success, to protect the e-mails and credit card information of its users from access by the State.
With this verdict Judge James Francis created a precedence in law which will reflect on any subsequent cases and this means that American Internet Service Providers cannot refuse to hand over any and all data to the requesting authorities even if the majority or even all of the data requested by those authorities is stored on servers abroad.
Microsoft and its lawyers had argued, in order to prevent such a disclosure, before the New York court that the requested information was being physically held on servers in Ireland and thus American search warrants did not apply there. They stated that a US investigator cannot simply enter a house in a foreign country and conduct a search and that would also be applicable to the on-line world.
However such arguments fell on deaf ears with the judiciary in the US. The judgment states categorically that the disclosure of private data has to happen upon request by the authorities. And it further says that the work and the effectiveness of such work of the NSA and the CIA would be seriously hampered should they have to work together with the authorities of other countries in order to obtain information from servers.
While the State refused to disclose what kind of data they were after in this case Microsoft said that an agency had requested all sent and received emails as well as credit card details and bank account details connected to that account.
Microsoft has announced that it will appeal against the decision of the court but the chances of success are very slim indeed if they exist at all.
This ruling may have bearing on all of us who use computers and especially Microsoft servers and services and the Internet in general as this ruling is a precedence which will impact on all other requests by US alphabet agencies appertaining to our data, emails and all that is in those emails.
From this judgment it would appear that any of us who make use of email services and other Internet services that are operated by US based companies, whether Microsoft, Google, or other, are basically screwed as far as due process of law is concerned if the US authorities want to get our information.
It very much looks as if the World Government has arrived and it is called Big Brother USA.
The Russian Security Services are more than right in their decision to return to the typewriter for sensitive communications and other materials and the dispatch of those via means other than electronic forms and maybe we all need to take a leaf out of their book on this matter.