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European Commission agrees to consider request on Microsoft case – Murphy

A request to the European Commission to submit observations in a US court case with potentially serious implications for the interface between the legal systems in the US and the EU was discussed at a meeting today between the Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy T.D., and the European Commission.

Minister Murphy wrote to the Commission yesterday to ask it to submit an “amicus curiae” brief in a US court case involving Microsoft, which will be heard in December.

Speaking after the meeting in Brussels, Minister Murphy said:

“In my meeting with the European Commission, I made the point that the EU and the US already have a mutual legal assistance system in place for dealing with data transfer requests from one jurisdiction to the other in criminal investigations. This Agreement ensures that users’ digital rights are respected and protected whilst also ensuring that law enforcement agencies in the US and the EU can seek evidence when investigating serious crimes.

It appears that in the case in question, by seeking direct access to data held in the EU through the US judicial system, these existing legal mechanisms might be effectively bypassed.

I stressed to the Commission that the issues at stake are relevant for the EU as a whole. I am satisfied that the Commission will give serious consideration to the request.



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On 4th December 2013, Microsoft Inc. was served with a criminal search warrant for all content data associated with a specific email account, which is held on servers in the Company’s Dublin-based operations, under the US Stored Communications Act by a Magistrate Judge in the US District Court Southern District of New York. Microsoft is challenging this and their appeal date before the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals is the 15th December 2014.