Microsoft refuses US government access to data stored in Ireland
Despite a court order in 2014 ruling in favour of the US government, Microsoft is refusing to hand over emails stored at a data centre in Ireland alleged to contain details of narcotics sales. The US government position supported by the court is it could force the company to hand over data it controlled and stored abroad because it is a US-based business.
However, Microsoft is arguing this would put it in breach of privacy laws. Microsoft’s position is the US "must respect the sovereignty of other countries". It has also indicated Washington should use legal assistance treaties if it wants access to information held in Ireland and other data centres outside the United States.
The stand-off is being viewed as a test case that will determine the extent of the US government's powers over tech companies which offer cloud-based services. Support for Microsoft’s position is strong amongst the US tech giant community including Apple, Amazon, HP, eBay, AT&T, Verizon and Salesforce.
US tech giants, the government and your data
This certainly adds new fuel to the debate around data sovereignty. Privacy concerns over data held in the cloud have long been cited as a barrier preventing businesses from taking advantage of cloud services. If the US government wins it sets a precedent and means data held in any country could be requested under warrant from any US company.
For UK companies using US headquartered global tech giants for cloud services, this case means there is a real possibility the US government may soon have access on demand to their data if a good enough reason can be found. Compliance and regulation and the actions of the US government and the SEC in investigating matters of interest are probably best described as robust. Even when there is no wrong-doing it is possible data could be subjected to scrutiny by US authorities.
UK data sovereignty assured with HTL Support
HTL Support is a UK company and all data associated with our cloud computing solutions is held in UK ISO270001 accredited data centres. This offers UK-based finance firms the assurance that their data is subject to UK and EU laws.
Whatever the legal position over the US government’s ability to access data stored abroad by US companies, UK finance companies can rest assured. Selecting Serviced Cloud as your cloud technology partner means UK sovereignty of your data where the laws of the UK and EU apply.