United States v. Microsoft: ‘Global Chaos,’ Outdated Legislation And a Judge’s Plea to Congress

October 8, 2015

When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in September in a case concerning Microsoft Corp.'s refusal to comply with a government search warrant and hand-over the contents of customer emails stored on a server in Ireland, Judge Gerald E. Lynch ended the almost 90-minute argument with an unusual plea: ‘‘I do think the one thing that probably everyone agrees on is that, as so often, it would be helpful if Congress would engage in that kind of nuanced regulation, and we’ll all be holding our breaths for when they do.’’

Judge Lynch’s closing observation illustrates the challenge facing the Second Circuit in interpreting the Stored Communications Act (SCA), a statute enacted into law nearly three decades ago, long before today’s Internet, long before cloud storage and long before huge amounts of data was stored in servers around the world.

To continue reading Craig Newman's article in the October edition of Bloomberg BNA's Privacy and Security Law Report, please click here.