Tech giants side with Google in fight over foreign emails
- A number of tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Cisco, filed an amicus brief last week in support of Google and its efforts to prevent law enforcement from retrieving customer data located outside the U.S.
- The push comes after last month, a U.S. judge ordered Google to comply with FBI search warrants requesting customer emails stored outside the United States. Google is now appealing the decision.
- "When a warrant seeks email content from a foreign data center, that invasion of privacy occurs outside the United States — in the place where the customers’ private communications are stored, and where they are accessed, and copied for the benefit of law enforcement, without the customer’s consent," according to the brief, Business Insider reports.
It’s not known what information the government is seeking from Google exactly, but the companies argue that the order is a violation of privacy and that the Stored Communications Act (SCA) doesn’t allow worldwide search under a U.S. warrant.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to prevent tech companies from ducking warrants by moving customer data overseas, which can be done much more easily today given the advent of cloud computing.
Privacy advocates and tech companies want the government to write more timely rules to address an environment where data is commonly stored in various places globally. The SCA was enacted as part of the broader Electronic Communications Privacy Act Congress passed in 1986.
The DOJ has argued that the government has the authority to gain access to data stored elsewhere if the company in question is based in the U.S.