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Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology

Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology

Abstract

Currently large email service providers, such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are refusing to comply with warrants issued under the Secured Communications Act (“SCA”) because in many instances, the requested information may be stored in servers located abroad. In the dismissed Supreme Court case, In re Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled & Maintained by Microsoft Corporation, the Supreme Court should have addressed whether an internet service provider must comply with a warrant issued under the SCA when the requested information is stored in a foreign country and whether enforcement of these warrants would be an impermissible extraterritorial application of U.S. law.

This comment will argue that based on current case law and the narrow circumstances described in Microsoft v. United States, the Supreme Court should have held companies providing email services in the United States must comply with a warrant issued under the authority of the Secured Communications Act when the user is a United States citizen, even if such data is stored outside the United States. This comment will also address the conflicts of law issues present in enforcing warrants issued under the Secured Communications Act. Finally, this comment will advocate that given the friction between the European Union’s privacy laws and the United States’ privacy laws as well as the advancements in technology since enactment of this statute, Congress should amend the SCA.

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