The United States Supreme Court discussed on Tuesday the practical application of an older law in regards to modern technology. The court, during oral arguments, considered the legalities of federal warrants being issued by prosecutors to gain access to emails sent and received by drug dealers stored on Microsoft servers based in Europe.
Justices of the court have been given the task of interpreting what is known as the Stored Communications Act which was passed in 1986. Legal experts say that the case highlights the conflict that exists between law enforcement officials and tech firms that have a vested interest in keeping private the information their customers share with them.
Michael Dreeben, United States Deputy Solicitor General, maintains that prosecutors have the legal right to access these emails due to the fact that Microsoft is headquartered in the United States. Dreeben opines that the issue is not international in scope and urges colleagues not to be fooled by the slight of hand trick that Microsoft attempts to play.
E. Joshua Rosenkranz, an attorney representing Microsoft, counters the argument made by Dreeben by declaring that the law gives jurisdiction to where the emails are held and the United States prosecutors are not entitled to access emails held in the country of Ireland.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, appears to agree with Microsoft on the matter and is among a group of justices that have suggested to Congress that the law is in need of revision to provide better clarity on the matter.
Ginsburg goes on to express that in 1986 cloud storage was something unimaginable. She would also say that specific legislation should be drafted if Congress wishes to regulate these modern technologies.