Ireland Asks EU To Support Microsoft In Legal Battle Involving Competing Jurisdictions
from the this-could-get-messy dept
Now there's been an interesting development on the other side of the Atlantic, where Ireland's Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection has written to the European Commission formally requesting it to make a submission:
A case involving Microsoft that is currently before the US courts has raised important issues between the respective legal regimes in the European Union and the United States, particularly in relation to the protection of personal data."Existing legal mechanisms" presumably means the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty that would allow the US to request the data it wants from the Irish government. The "fundamental issues at stake" refer to the fact that by trying to take a more direct route, without involving the Irish government, the US authorities are likely to fall foul of European data protection laws, which do not allow personal data to be handed over in this way. The Irish minister is clearly asking the European Commission to support Microsoft in its fight against the US court's decision:
The case in question has given rise to a degree of legal uncertainty and the outcome could have potentially serious implications for data protection in the EU.
By seeking direct access to data held in the EU through the US judicial system, existing legal mechanisms for mutual assistance between jurisdictions may be being effectively bypassed. There are fundamental issues at stake here as regards the protection of personal data that is held within the European Union.
I urge the Commission to consider the arguments that Microsoft are making with respect to this case.That's an indication that the Irish government -- and doubtless those elsewhere in the EU -- really want Microsoft to win. If it doesn't, there is going to be a clash of jurisdictions that could get very messy as both US and EU insist that their laws must take precedence, with serious consequences if they don't....
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