Irish Government Files Amicus Brief in Support for Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

Microsoft Corporation

The Irish government has filed an amicus brief in support for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s position against handing over the emails to the U.S. authorities.

The US Department of Justice wants the technology company to hand over emails stored in its server located in Ireland. The emails are concerning a suspect in America and the U.S. authorities are trying to force Microsoft to hand over the relevant data.

Microsoft, however, contended that the data shall be governed by the respective local laws and has also garnered significant support from technology scientists, companies, and leading media houses.

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Ireland business, commented that the case has important implications for Ireland and Europe. She also welcomed Irish government’s filing of amicus brief, which will send strong signal to the U.S. authorities about the importance placed on this matter.

The amicus brief process allows an interested party to file its views in a legal matter, which could be then considered by the courts. So far 10 amicus briefs have been filed by the technology companies in support for Microsoft’s position.

An amicus curiae brief filed by the Irish government in the US Court of Appeals urges the foreign court to respect Irish sovereignty. The brief also cited the “Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty” between the countries and an Irish Supreme Court case – Walsh v National Irish Bank. The 2013 case was also related to the accessibility of rights to data held in a foreign jurisdiction and hence the brief mentioned that the case may be of relevance to the consideration.

Brad Smith, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s general counsel, said that the company has long argued for the respect of people’s rights under their local laws and the Irish Government’s filing underscores the possibility and importance of international dialogue on this issue.