Wednesday 16 January 2019

Minister objects to Microsoft data order

The Government has said the way the US forced disclosure of foreign data from Microsoft is objectionable and warned it could have implications across Europe.

It followed court action taken by American prosecutors to compel the technology giant to hand over details of an email account held on its Dublin servers.

Junior Minister Dara Murphy said a US district court judge had decided to lift a stay on the execution of a criminal search warrant for the information stored by Microsoft but warned that due process and an international treaty should be adhered to.


Mr Murphy, who has responsibility for data protection, said: "Co-operation in the area of law enforcement is a fundamental element of our international relations, in particular with our partners in the US, which is why the issue of the transfer of the data itself is not objectionable, but rather the process that is being utilised."

The case centres on an investigation into drug trafficking. US prosecutors reportedly obtained a search warrant last December to access an email account controlled and maintained by Microsoft servers in Dublin.

There followed legal appeals from the company.

Mr Murphy said he was monitoring the case closely. He noted that existing treaties already provide for the request and transfer of data in criminal matters.


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