News: The US government is suing Microsoft, because Microsoft won’t give the government access to some emails stores on Microsoft’s Irish servers. The US government won the first round, but within months the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York will decide whether the government can force Microsoft to hand over the emails as part of a drug-trafficking investigation.The case is very principal, as it might result in more balkanization of the Internet.
The case highlights tensions between the US and EU over protecting personal data and the powers of law enforcement. That friction has escalated since October 6, when the European Court of Justice struck down the 15-year-old “safe harbor” agreement that gave companies a legal mechanism to transfer data across the Atlantic. This case is much more principal than it appears. If Microsoft loses, it will be impossible for US -headquartered companies in Europe to live up to the EU data laws, as the US government can get access to their European data centers. This might result in more balkanization of the Internet; like Russia demanding all Russian personal data on Russian soil, so will European countries may be demand that all personal data from European should be stores in Europe by companies with headquartered in Europe. This is already the case in Germany, and that is also the reason why Microsoft partnered with Deutsche Telekom cloud-service T-Systems.