Microsoft will battle the US Department of Justice in court tomorrow over whether it should hand over emails tied to a narcotics investigation, stored in its Irish data center — and it should be pretty clear which side you should take.
The Guardian notes that the verdict will likely influence national governments across the world to think they too can force tech companies with local operations to grant access to private correspondence.
Microsoft believes that, “When one government wants to obtain email that is stored in another country, it needs to do so in a manner that respects existing domestic and international laws.”
A loss for Microsoft could set in motion a chain reaction across the globe: Less responsible governments might begin to play fast and loose with our data, and grant access to private information to other countries if it benefits their interests. The very notion of privacy on the Web could be eroded over time.
Although the case concerns only a single email account, its outcome could affect the way we share — or decide not to — information online in the future.
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