SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – Microsoft is fighting a legal battle against the U.S. government that goes to the heart of online privacy, reports CNet.

At issue is a federal government warrant demanding access to data from a customer’s email account which is stored in Dublin, Ireland.

“The government takes the extraordinary position,” reads a court filing released by Microsoft, “that by merely serving such a warrant on any US-based email provider, it has the right to obtain the private emails of any subscriber, no matter where in the world the data may be located, and without the knowledge or consent of the subscriber or the relevant foreign government where the data is stored.”

The legal challenge comes at a time when Americans are wondering how secure their online information is, and who can have access to it.

And with so much data flowing around the world, there are concerns the United States is overreaching by demanding access to information stored overseas.

Microsoft’s lawyers warn that agreeing to such warrants would “violate international laws and treaties, and reduce the privacy protection of everyone on the planet,” and “have a significant negative impact on Microsoft’s business, and the competitiveness of US cloud providers in general.”

The government claims Microsoft’s position would lead to “absurd” and “arbitrary” and would have “a devastating impact on the government’s ability to conduct criminal investigations.”

The owner of the Microsoft email account has not been revealed. CNet says the government warrant is likely related to a narcotics case.

The identity and nationality of the holder of the Microsoft email account in question have not been revealed. The warrant is thought to be related to a narcotics case.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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