New law makes Microsoft case on search warrants moot, Supreme Court says
New legislation allowing warrants to reach emails held on overseas servers has made moot a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving Microsoft, the high court ruled on Tuesday.
In a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court said the case should be dismissed.
At issue in the case was whether the Stored Communications Act allowed prosecutors to use a warrant to obtain Microsoft emails stored on one of its servers in Ireland.
President Donald Trump signed an amendment to the law, known as the Cloud Act, on March 23. The Cloud Act provides that email providers must comply with court orders for data regardless of whether it is stored within or outside of the United States.
The Supreme Court noted that prosecutors had already obtained a new warrant for the emails under the new law. “No live dispute remains between the parties over the issue with respect to which certiorari was granted,” the court said. “Further, the parties agree that the new warrant has replaced the original warrant. This case, therefore, has become moot.
Microsoft president Brad Smith issued this statement: “We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling ending our case in light of the Cloud Act being signed into to law. Our goal has always been a new law and international agreements with strong privacy protections that govern how law enforcement gathers digital evidence across borders. As the governments of the U.K. and Australia have recognized, the Cloud Act encourages these types of agreements, and we urge the U.S. government to move quickly to negotiate them.”
Updated with Microsoft statement at 10:20 a.m.