The US government has “overreached” in asking for data that is held on a server in Dublin, according to Doug Hauger, general manager for national cloud programmes at Microsoft.
In an interview with ComputerWeekly, Hauger laid out how Microsoft, which is currently engaged in a legal battle with the US government, sees granting access to data stored in the European Union.
“We believe they have overreached in their ability to gain data that is outside the US,” he said.
The current legal battle started when the US government requested access to data held on a Microsoft server in Dublin, Ireland. Microsoft refused and was taken to court. The case is ongoing.
“Customers want us to be transparent on how we keep their data secure,” said Hauger. “We are very clear that if we receive a request from a law enforcement agency for your data, we will redirect that request to you and, where we are allowed to, we will reveal to you that we have been asked to provide access to your data.”
In late 2015, a ruling by the European Union changed the way that “data residency” works. US companies, such as Microsoft or Facebook, have users in Europe and were previously allowed to store that data on US-based servers. Now, however, that data has to be stored in a European country.
Microsoft has announced it is building two new data centres in Europe — one in the UK and one in Germany — and has been publicly fighting US government attempts to access that data.
Amazon and Microsoft are also locked into a battle over the cloud storage and services market in Europe, which is estimated to be worth $11 billion (£7 billion) per year.
For its part, Microsoft is touting security and trust. “We want to make sure customers’ data is secure,” said Hauger. “One of the ways we do this is to encrypt data in transit between our cloud services, which means that it is essentially not available to people even if they have access to the cloud infrastructure.”
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