The US Decides Everything Digital Is Not Protected By The Fourth Amendment

Last week the U.S. government decided data stored digitally doesn’t hold the same Fourth Amendment rights as physical items, Engadget reports.

The government issued the statement in briefs filed last week as a part of an ongoing conversation between the U.S. and Microsoft about what sort of data is protected and where.

Ealier this year a New York judge ruled that U.S. search warrants are good on all digital information, even if that data is stored overseas. Microsoft — which was at the center of the issue after withholding information held on a server in Ireland, Engadget says — challenged the government, saying digital and physical property should be protected equally. Last week, the company finally got its answer.

Other tech companies have weighed in on Microsoft’s side. Verizon said the U.S.’ decision would lead to “dramatic conflict with foreign data protection laws,” Ars Technica reports. Apple and Cisco advised the government to seek cooperation with other nations through treaties, which the U.S. has said is not practical.

The Irish government, however, thinks the way for the U.S. to get the original data held on the Irish servers that started this battle is through the already-established “Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty,” Ars Technica says. A senior counsel for the Irish Supreme Court called the treaty the most efficient method, something the United States disagrees with.

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