A New York judge just ruled that US search warrants still apply to email accounts and other digital info, even if they're stored overseas. US Magistrate James Francis made that decision to make sure a search warrant issued to Microsoft for a user's account whose emails are stored on a Dublin, Ireland server goes through. The tech giant has apparently challenged that warrant months ago when it was served, and in a statement says:
A U.S. prosecutor cannot obtain a U.S. warrant to search someone's home located in another country, just as another country's prosecutor cannot obtain a court order in her home country to conduct a search in the United States. We think the same rules should apply in the online world, but the government disagrees.
Sadly, Judge Francis doesn't share the same thinking and believes search warrants for digital contents should be executed no matter where in the world they're stored. He also says internet companies like Google and Microsoft have no right to refuse if a court orders them to hand over a user's details.
Update: Now that Microsoft has received that initial ruling, the company posted its official stance on its website. By the sound of it, Microsoft is challenging "the government's longstanding views" on digital content store on foreign servers, and the judge was just upholding the status quo (emphasis ours):