There’s a great summary of the government’s case against Microsoft concerning the subpoenaing ability of data (email) residing in an overseas data center controlled by a US company. The crux of the dispute is the territorial reach (and territorial applicability) of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), a subset of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that governs law enforcement access to communications data.
The dispute arose when the Justice Department brought a warrant to Microsoft – issued based upon probable cause under the SCA (18 U.S.C. § 2703) – asking for the details and contents of an email account believed to be associated with a suspected drug trafficker.
Microsoft produced the transactional records it held on its data centers in the United States, but declined to produce the customer’s emails that it said were stored on a data center in Ireland.