Judge Rules Google Must Give FBI Email Archived Abroad

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A U.S. judge ruled Friday that Google has to comply with an FBI search warrant seeking emails from customers stored on a foreign server, according to Reuters.

This runs counter to last year’s ruling in which a federal appeals court said that Microsoft did not have to deliver the data stored on its servers in Ireland. The FBI investigation in question involves an internal suspicion of fraud.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter of Philadelphia said that the transfer of e-mails from a foreign server to FBI agents to check them locally does not qualify as a seizure because there is no significant interference with the owner’s “possessory interest” in the sought data.

Google – a division of Alphabet, based in Mountain View, Calif. – issued the following statement about the ruling: “The magistrate in this case departed from precedent, and we plan to appeal the decision. We will continue to push back on overbroad warrants.”

Based on the decision in the Microsoft case, Google believed it had complied with the received warrants by turning over data it knew were stored in the United States.

Google receives over 25,000 annual requests annually U.S. authorities related to disclosures of user data in criminal matters, according to Judge Rueter’s ruling.


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