Compliance Management, Privacy

Justice Department: Google won’t challenge overseas warrants


Google has silently stopped challenging most warrants from U.S. judges in cases involving data requests stored in overseas servers, according to a Justice Department brief sent to the Supreme Court.

The department told the High Court that the tech giant reversed its previous stance and informed the government that it will comply with the warrants and request for customer data.

“Google has reversed its previous stance and informed the government that it will comply with new Section 2703 warrants outside the 2nd Circuit (while suggesting that it will appeal the adverse decisions in one or more existing cases),” the department said in court documents. “Consequently, the government's ability to use Section 2703 warrants to obtain communications stored abroad — which may contain evidence critical to criminal or national-security investigations — now varies depending on the jurisdiction and the identity of the provider.”

The news comes amid pressure from the Trump administration for justices to declare U.S. search warrants served on the U.S. tech sector extend to data stored on foreign servers as Google and other tech giants such as Microsoft began challenging U.S. warrants for overseas data.

The push comes after a federal appeals court sided with Microsoft on a first of its kind challenge which convinced the New York-based Second US Circuit Court of Appeals that U.S. search-and-seizure laws don't require compliance with a warrant to concerning data on servers located overseas.

Google told ARS that it supports recently introduced legislation authorizing internet service providers (ISPs) to surrender overseas data with a warrant and that it is continuing to follow the Second Circuit Court of Appeals' decision and will decline to produce data stored overseas in courts that fall within that circuit.

“To seek consistency in the law, we are appealing some of the cases where lower courts have decided not to follow the ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals,” Google told the publication. “This discrepancy in court decisions is yet another reminder that data surveillance laws need to be modernized to safeguard users' privacy, protect law enforcement's legitimate need to collect digital evidence, and provide clarity.”

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