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United States v. Microsoft Corp.

Supreme Court of the United States

 February 27, 2018, Argued; April 17, 2018, Decided

No. 17-2.

Opinion

 [*1187]  [**610]   PER CURIAM.

The Court granted certiorari in this case to decide whether, when the Government has obtained a warrant under 18 U. S. C. §2703, a U. S. provider of e-mail services must disclose to the Government electronic communications within its control even if the provider stores the communications abroad. 583 U. S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 356, 199 L. Ed. 2d 261 (2017).

In December 2013, federal law enforcement agents applied to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for a §2703 warrant requiring Microsoft to disclose all e-mails and other information associated with the account of one of its customers. Satisfied that the agents had demonstrated probable cause to believe that the account was being used to further illegal drug trafficking, a Magistrate Judge issued the requested §2703 warrant. App. 22-26. The warrant directed Microsoft to disclose to the Government the contents of a specified e-mail account and all other records or information associated with the account “[t]o the extent that the information . . . is within [Microsoft’s] possession, custody, or control.” Id., at 24.

After service of [***2]  the §2703 warrant, Microsoft determined that the account’s e-mail contents were stored in a sole location: Microsoft’s datacenter in Dublin, Ireland. Id., at 34. Microsoft moved to quash the warrant with respect to the information stored in Ireland. The Magistrate Judge denied Microsoft’s motion. In re Warrant To Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp., 15 F. Supp. 3d 466 (SDNY 2014). The District Court, after  [**611]  a hearing, adopted the Magistrate Judge’s reasoning and affirmed his ruling. See In re Warrant To Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp., 829 F. 3d 197, 204-205 (CA2 2016). Soon after, acting on a stipulation submitted jointly by the parties, the District Court held Microsoft in civil contempt for refusing to comply fully with the warrant. Id., at 205. On appeal, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the denial of the motion to quash and vacated the civil contempt finding, holding that requiring Microsoft to disclose the electronic communications in question would be an unauthorized extraterritorial application of §2703. Id., at 222.

The parties now advise us that on March 23, 2018, Congress enacted and the President signed into law the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Pub. L. 115-141. The CLOUD Act amends the Stored Communications Act, 18 U. S. C. §2701 et seq., by adding the following provision:

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138 S. Ct. 1186 *; 200 L. Ed. 2d 610 **; 2018 U.S. LEXIS 2495 ***; 86 U.S.L.W. 4215; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 183; 2018 WL 1800369

UNITED STATES, Petitioner v. MICROSOFT CORPORATION

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Prior History:  [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT

Microsoft Corp. v. United States (In re Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled & Maintained by Microsoft Corp.), 829 F.3d 197, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12926 (2d Cir. N.Y., July 14, 2016)

CORE TERMS

e-mail, disclose, parties, electronic communication, contents, provider, vacated, civil contempt, Communications, customer, custody, stored, moot