Court upholds Microsoft ruling to protect data in Ireland from U.S. government

Microsoft
A federal appeals court ruled the U.S. government cannot search a server in another country, upholding the original verdict.

The case pertained to a Microsoft server in Dublin that was reportedly central to an ongoing narcotics investigation. Law enforcement wanted to access emails of a suspect that were stored on the server but Microsoft denied access.

Microsoft stated that U.S. law did not allow for search warrants to be issued for servers in other countries, even if it’s an American company and the data belonged to an American citizen. The company and its supporters believed that allowing such access would set a bad precedent.

The U.S. government had appealed the original ruling from July but on Tuesday, the 2nd  Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan declined to overturn the ruling. Law enforcement had employed the Stored Communications Act to issue the search warrant in the first place. They will now have to seek some other legal means to accessing the data. The Department of Justice had previously stated that the ruling would inspire more companies to store data outside the U.S. to avoid the reach of authorities.

The ruling was not a clean sweep, though. Judges ruled 4-4, meaning the original ruling would stand but opposition judges voiced their dissatisfaction. Some dissenting opinions from judges pointed out that the ruling could hamper law enforcement investigations in the future.

“We are reviewing the decision and its multiple dissenting opinions and considering our options,” a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said.

Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith, on the other hand, said the company welcomed the ruling. “We need Congress to modernize the law both to keep people safe and ensure that governments everywhere respect each other’s borders,” he said. Smith has been a regular critic of how the government conducts these kinds of searches, calling for better and clearer laws on the matter.

Microsoft has become one of the U.S. government’s most vocal critics of how it issues search warrants for data. In 2016, it launched a legal battle against the government to try and overturn a law that prevents service providers from informing users when their data has been seized by law enforcement. It has called the gag orders unconstitutional.

Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Computing

Get the best of both worlds by sharing your data on MacOS and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.
Computing

Potentially malicious WinRAR vulnerability patched after almost 20 years

WinRAR, a piece of Windows software for managing archival formats, has been harboring a vulnerability for nearly two decades, potentially allowing malicious software to insert items into a computer's startup folder without user permission.
Computing

Is Ice Lake coming soon? Here's what we know about Intel's future chip design

Intel's Ice Lake may end up launching before the architecture it was supposed to replace. With hints of more announcements about the chip design in the very near future, here's everything you need to know about Ice Lake.
Computing

Apple is reportedly set to showcase a new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019 in June

Our Mac Pro 2019 rumor roundup covers all the news, leaks, and rumors about Apple's new machine, set to be announced sometime in 2019. Here's what Apple has said, what the experts think, and what we're likely to see with the new Mac Pro.
Gaming

Learn to uninstall a Steam game and clear some space on your PC

Looking to learn how to uninstall Steam games? You've come to the right place. In this guide, we walk you through the process step by step, whether you want Steam to do it for you or handle the process manually.
Computing

Prone to web surfing? Google Chrome’s new Focus Mode fights internet distractions

Finding yourself distracted by the web when you need to get work done? A new flag in Google Chrome could hint at a new Focus Mode. The feature may allow computer users to block distracting websites or notifications.
Computing

Intel expects Apple to transition Macs to ARM processors in 2020, report says

It has been rumored for some time that Apple could transition away from Intel to ARM processors, but a new report now claims that Intel is aware of the decision and that it could happen in 2020.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.