Reacting to the decision by the US Supreme Court to hear the case of the US Government vs. Microsoft regarding a warrant to search an email account, Paul Sweetman, Director of Technology Ireland, the Ibec group representing the technology sector, said: “Public safety and protecting citizens are of paramount importance. As such, law enforcement agencies increasingly need to collect evidence that is digitally based, and in many cases stored outside their own jurisdiction. The case in front of the Supreme Court is not about the importance of gathering evidence, but how this evidence should be gathered.
“In the normal course of events, if the US Government needs to gather evidence that is stored outside its jurisdiction, the traditional process of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty is followed. In this case though, the US Government is arguing that it should be allowed to circumvent this agreed mechanism – including its in built checks and balances – and unilaterally seize digital information that is stored in Ireland. Should the US Government succeed in this case, companies would be put in a position of having to choose between breaking US law or breaking European law. Such a conflict is not acceptable.
“Today’s case is not about one company. It will have far reaching implications for any organisation that manages and handles data, be they US headquartered or simply have a US base. Data and data management underpin the modern economy. Companies and their customers must have predictability, certainty and a clear legal framework on how that data is both managed and safeguarded.
“Given today’s decision, Technology Ireland is urging that the Irish Government apply to submit an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court. This will allow the Irish Government to present key points that protect Irish law and bring certainty to companies operating here.”