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Microsoft Joins Government’s Request to Render Fight over Access to Data Stored Abroad Moot

Yesterday, we reported that the Department of Justice has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to remand its dispute with Microsoft Corp. concerning access to customer emails stored abroad to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with instructions to dismiss it as moot.  The government argued that the newly enacted “CLOUD” Act clarifies prior law and makes clear that information stored abroad can, under certain circumstances, be subject to a domestic warrant.  The government added that it obtained a new warrant for Microsoft to turn over the requested information in the days following the CLOUD Act’s passage.

Now, Microsoft has responded to the government’s motion.  In a short filing last night, Microsoft told the Court that it does not oppose the Government’s request, and that it agrees the dispute over the 2013 warrant is now moot.  Microsoft noted that it “has argued from the beginning of this case that Congress is the proper branch” to address these issues, which Congress has finally done.

Microsoft’s brief can be read here.  Although this probably ends the parties’ dispute over the previous warrant, Microsoft has not yet announced whether it plans to comply with the fresh warrant.  If Microsoft decides to contest the new warrant, there will likely be a new round of litigation.  As always, we’ll keep an eye on this matter.