Re: Yeah right
"The EU or UK have no control over a sovereign state, pretty much as the US can only pretend it has an ability to write laws in other countries. Even with the largest possible seasoning of BS you cannot spin this one into an EU problem, it is a US one."
Quite right, except that it could become a problem that European countries have to deal with.
The increasing extra-territoriality of US law and policy could result in more European citizens being caught up in legal contradictions between the US and Europe.
Consider a hypothetical situation where an Irish kid sent a rude selfie to his girlfriend using a Microsoft mobile phone. Is he going to get arrested for child pornography if he ever travels to the US, the evidence in the case having been lifted from MS's servers in Ireland by a US Prosecutor?
If the FBI win this case against MS, the answer to that question is potentially yes, and not a definite no. Bear in mind that US Prosecutors are paid a bonus for successful convictions, so easy win cases are financially attractive to them.
Already Too Late?
The FBI seems to be after data already on MS's servers, which in itself raises a dangerous point.
If the FBI wins this case then everything you have ever done with or via online services provided by a US company will potentially be open to US investigators and prosecutors. They win the case, they can start issuing all the warrants they want straight away.
So ask yourself, how long will it take for MS, Google, Apple, Facebook, or Twitter to actually delete your data if you choose to close your account now? Most of them take ages (they want to keep mining your data for ad revenue for as long as possible). Will they delete it before MS's case with the FBI is concluded? You don't control that.
So, is it an EU Problem?
Potentially yes. We all know that the US has very different views on nudity, business, breast feeding, etc. Certainly one big difference between the US and European business environments is the US Wire Fraud Act (and if you don't know what that is, wise up fast).
So how is a European government supposed to give sensible travel advise to its citizens? At the moment it's easy; "What you do in your home country stays in your home country, and anything you do in the US is your problem". If the FBI win, European governments will have to say, "Who knows? We can't protect you if you travel to the US; your acquital here won't count for anything over there".
Political Trouble at Home
If the FBI wins this case then everybody would know that the US can get any access they want into data centres all over the world owned by US companies. That includes European governments and their politicians.
Hypothetically speaking US warrants against foreign data centres could become common place, then extended, then generalised, then all encompassing. Many European governments, citizens and businesses would see that as excessive. So what if the US were revealed to have excessively exploited their own warrantry system? Governments and politicians outside the US will then have to explain why they didn't enforce their own data protection laws. Naturally no European politician would want to have to explain that.
So, how to enforce European data protection laws in the face of the FBI winning this case and be sure that that hypothetical situation doesn't become reality? Either spy on the data center's traffic (hard, and getting harder I expect), or simply close it down. Relying on the dubious reassurance of an American ambassador or US government spokesman sounds, well, unwise. Especially with what has already emerged from the likes of Snowden.
Closing down US owned data centers might in the end be the easiest way for a government to demonstrate that their data protection laws are the only ones that apply. Though of course those too might not be so popular with the population... It would be a good excuse for a bit of good ol' protectionism though.
Scaremongering? Well, perhaps. For most people it won't ever be a problem because most people are ordinary and law abiding, so it's not likely to be a major political issue either.
But for an individual the rest of one's lifetime is a long time to gamble that the US also considers you to be ordinary and law abiding. We know that they already have very different attitudes to nudity, breast feeding, digital piracy and the definition of business malpractise. Who knows where that goes in the future?
So as a minimum we require European governments to keep an eye on what the US is doing, how their laws and attitudes are changing, just to make sure that we don't unwittingly fall foul of the US legal system for things that are perfectly normal and legal at home. That's not something they've had to do before, but a win for the FBI in this case changes that.