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AT&T and Verizon back Microsoft in protest over warrant for emails held overseas


ATT and Verizon are both backing Microsoft in a challenge against federal prosecutors who want access to a customer’s email data stored in Ireland. Microsoft has objected to a warrant issued by a US judge, arguing that it may authorize the US government to search Microsoft premises abroad and reduce the privacy protection of everyone on the planet. The warrant was originally granted in December, but Microsoft objected as the customer’s emails are stored in Ireland, outside the reach of a domestic search warrant. Verizon is backing Microsoft’s concerns, and ATT has also filed its own support, noting that this practice rests on an understanding that when it comes to data storage and privacy protections, location matters. Microsoft argues that online warrants should be subject to the equivalent of physical world warrants, based on location. The Justice Department believes Microsoft’s approach could be a dangerous impediment to the ability of law enforcement to gather evidence of criminal activity.

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