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CLOUD Act Makes Microsoft Case Moot, Microsoft Agrees

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

It was the day before the big heavyweight fight, and then suddenly it was off.

One of the fighters got injured, tested positive for drugs, or something. Or as in the case of U.S. v. Microsoft Corp., Congress stepped in and broke it up.

The CLOUD Act, which created new procedures for acquiring data stored across borders, settles the issues in the case. So everybody go home, sorry no refunds.

The Big Fight

In 2013, the Department of Justice served Microsoft with a search warrant for data stored in Ireland. The company sought to quash, but the judge said the Stored Communications Act authorized warrants for "information that is stored on servers abroad."

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and remanded the case with instructions. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Feb. 27, 2018, to resolve the question.

But before the justices could answer, Congress inked a deal with superseding legislation. The Department of Justice has asked to dismiss the case as moot, and Microsoft has agreed.

It's not officially over until the court says so, but there is no fight -- at least not in the U.S. Supreme Court.

New Warrant

The new law is "not without controversy," the Verge reported, but it does resolve the issue in the case. The DOJ has already applied for a new warrant to get the overseas information from Microsoft.

Meanwhile, in the filing to dismiss the lawsuit, Microsoft acknowledged that the new law is a "nuanced legislative scheme that creates a modern legal framework for law-enforcement access to data across borders."

So apparently the company will not oppose the new warrant. At least not until the next big fight.

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