back to article Microsoft urges law rewrite to keep US govt's mitts off overseas data

Microsoft today badgered the US House Judiciary Committee for changes to the law following Europe's safe harbor collapse and Redmond's data center search warrant battle. Microsoft wants legislation governing America's ability to seize data on overseas servers modernized. It's resisted a US Department of Justice (DoJ) warrant …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    ""I think Apple is making an important point," said Smith."

    There speaks a man who wishes BillG had kept his two pennorth out of it.

  2. Crazy Operations Guy

    All had saved the US going through the much lengthier MLAT (mutual legal assistance treaty) process.

    Then perhaps they should just figure out how to streamline the MLAT process and scrap SCA / LEADS / ECPA. I'd rather that justice moves a little slower than risk violating the basic human rights of foreign citizens...

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: All had saved the US going through the much lengthier MLAT

      Brad is right, if MS lose this case, it is essentially the death of all cloud services with any ties to the USA - whether the parent company is US based or they have a US branch office or server farm.

      1. Arctic fox

        @big_D Re:"Brad is right, if MS lose this case, it is essentially the death of all cloud services "

        It is indeed richly ironic that the anal retentive control freaks of the American security/Homeland defence industry (and it is indeed an industry) are apparently bent on destroying one of the last areas in which the USA still has a very clear lead over the rest of the world. Bill Clinton's advisor in an earlier presidential election who posted "it's the economy stupid" was simply repeating old advice. Never mind your military it is your economy that keeps you a major player. It is mindbending that America's "defenders" apparently wish to take measures that will hasten the decline of the USA as a major power. It is not all about how many guns and rockets you have guys, wakey wakey!

        1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

          Re: @big_D Brad is right, if MS lose this case, it is essentially the death of all cloud services "

          You have to laugh at the most basic foolishness of the open carry people who think they are scoring points for liberty by carrying guns around in public n posting videos glorying their actions but when push come to shove allow the sheriff of you tube to blast them away defencelessly at any roadblock, sniper ambush.

  3. Mark 85

    Two comments;

    1) So the TPP has one good thing in it. Pity only the one. If there's more good things, no one has said a word.

    2) Given the way Congress and courts work, this will not be over soon. Even if Congress passes a law, I think the government could argue that the case can still be tried as a "grandfather" case. I remember reading on lawsuits and prosecutions "grandfathered " in some years ago but those were at State level and not national so... maybe it would go away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite right too!

      Grandfathering has, after all, an honourable and respectable history.

  4. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    It seems all a bit like ...

    It seems all a bit like :

    * we are going to switch our international dealings from US dollar base to price of gold base

    * we are going to switch all of our hardwares to locally produced kit

    * we are going to switch all of our softwares to locally produced thingies innit


    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      I already got mine

      I call it my computer.

      Because it is mine.

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: I already got mine

        >I call it my computer. Because it is mine.

        Famously, MS Windows labelled PCs "My Computer", and for exactly the same reason!

        RFI: I've never seen Windows 10. Does it still have 'My Computer'?

  5. Graham Marsden

    " We suspect that few opponents of TPP [...] actually realize this"

    Until Wikileaks published the a partial draft text of the TPP, it would have been a bit difficult for anyone not involved to even be aware of this!

  6. dan1980

    But I want it . . .

    "Smith said US cloud providers were also under pressure from foreign states to disclose data on US servers. Microsoft had been hit with a criminal fine in Brazil for refusing to do so."

    Um, yeah. You know that recipient of so many pointed fingers: China? Guess what . . .

    "[The SCA] had saved the US going through the much lengthier MLAT (mutual legal assistance treaty) process."

    Yeah, and if you allowed law enforcement to just enter any property at will and detain people without probable cause and abolish their Miranda rights then it would 'save' them having to go through the 'much lengthier process' of getting warrants and going to trial and, you know, following due process.

    Yes, international politics is sometimes messy and often slow and that can certainly result in delays in law enforcement actions. But that's the price of wanting to engage in international trade - you have to create treaties that lay down what can and can't be done and how - across a whole range of areas.

    It's also the way you show that you respect other nations and their citizens.

    But, given the most nations don't seem to respect their own citizen (and the US is right up there), it seems almost naive that they would even consider foreign citizens to have rights at all.

    Actually reminds me of the end of Guardians of the Galaxy where Rocket Raccoon asks whether it's illegal to take something that doesn't belong to him:

    Rocket: What if I see something that I wanna take and it belongs to someone else?

    Nova chap: Then you will be arrested.

    Rocket: But what if I want it more than the person who has it?

    Nova chap: Still illegal.

    Rocket: That doesn't follow. No, I want it more, sir. Do you understand me?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: But I want it . . .

      I'd really like someone to ask for their miranda rights when they get arrested outside the USA.

      The cops would probably die laughing.

      1. Brent Beach

        Re: But I want it . . .

        Never watch a British police show?

        Know anything about the world outside the exceptional US of A?

        Nah, didn't think so.

        Well the <sarcasm>land of the free</sarcasm> is now the land of the spied upon and the spied upon keep demanding more.

        And, with President Trump, they will get it.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's truly amazing how inept...

    Gates, Microsoft, Apple, Zuckerberg, Google and other entities are to world security. It truly is a tragedy to be so removed from reality.

  9. Intractable Potsherd

    Worrying - I agree with an American politician!

    ""Britain is our ally," complained House rep Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) "but they don't have a first amendment. They don't protect freedom of speech. They don't have judicial review. They don't have probable cause. Britain is moving away from basic [rights] and it's cause for grave concern in this country.""

    Taking it step by step:

    a) First Amendment - No, Britain doesn't have a first amendment because we don't have a proper constitution. All this pissing about with the EU is pointless, because the most important thing Britain needs is a written constitution that sets out the relationship between the individual and the State (see more on this further down).

    b) Freedom of Speech - The courts do protect freedom of speech, and they did even before the European Convention on Human Rights made it clear. However, it seems half-hearted because of the terrible libel laws we have.

    c) Judicial Review - I thought he was wrong on this, because of course there is judicial review here. However, what I think he means is that, because of the stupidity of the doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy - a hang-over from feudalism - there is no judicial review of primary statutes. One of the things that should be included in a written constitution is that the courts have an important role in determining the constitutionality of Acts of Parliament. However, since the main gripe of the "leave the EU" lot is that there is someone with power to look over Parliament's shoulder and make tutting noises (really, that's all the ECHR/CJEU can do), then there is almost no chance of the legislature being meaningfully balanced by the judiciary (in classical constitutional theory, the executive is included in the balance, but it isn't really in Britain because the executive is made up from the legislature).

    d) Probable Cause He is right - there is no equivalent of probable cause in Britain, and it is needed. However, it would need to be differently applied than in the US, since it seems to be lip-service a lot of the time over there.

    e) Britain is moving away from basic rights - oh yes! If the "outers" get their way, it will move even further away so fast the red-shift will be visible to the naked eye. Why do you think they want to be removed from the beady eye of courts with some small jurisdiction over them - it isn't so ordinary people can have any more power.*

    Now, I know that it seems a bit rich that a politician from a country with discernible red-shift away from basic rights has said these things, but they are true.

    * Yes, I know that the EU and the ECHR are different things, but the EU is the one with some small ability to enforce it's decisions through fines. Findings of breach of the ECHR are merely that.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Worrying - I agree with an American politician!

      Well said, but I can't resist pointing out that Zoe Lofgren is a "she".

      Of course these things are never simple, but Lofgren does have some history of taking prominent stances in favor of civil rights, for example in opposing SOPA, and in trying to reduce abuse of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the "Aaron's Law" bill named for Aaron Swartz).

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Worrying - I agree with an American politician!

      "d) Probable Cause He is right - there is no equivalent of probable cause in Britain, and it is needed."

      Is it not similar to "reasonable suspicion"? Patently IANAL

      1. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: Worrying - I agree with an American politician!

        "Reasonable suspicion" seems to be a bar that is set WAY lower than "probable cause", just on the basis of English semantics ('cos I ain't a lawyer, either). 'Probable cause' implies that one has to be able to articulate some evidence pointing to probability, whereas 'Reasonable suspicion' just has to demonstrate that a suspicion is not unreasonable. Arguing over the applicability of the word "reasonable" in any given context has paid for the private education of generations of lawyer's children...

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