A United States search warrant was issued to Microsoft last week in order to allow the government access to data that is being stored overseas by Microsoft. The company is arguing that the US cannot demand the data of a person located overseas and that it is unreasonable to even ask to provide it. The tech giant has the support of multiple other companies and will be appealing in court to overrule the warrant.
There are some observations to be made here, both about how Microsoft is treating the warrant and how the United States is acting in its request. First of all, Microsoft is pretty clever to make this public so that more pressure can be put in the government in order to abandon its request. Furthermore, allowing such a warrant to go through would set a dangerous path for the future of such requests.
The reach of the government’s surveillance and investigation tactics is now public knowledge with all the NSA revelations. If another country asked a US company for data of a native resident, what would the reaction of the government be? To sum this up, even if ethics were not involved in the discussions, Microsoft still has much to lose if the warrant goes through. With privacy and security being more relevant than ever, people will gladly switch services to protect their data and Microsoft would lose money just like that.