Microsoft is taking a stand over email ownership and privacy as the US govenrment continues to demand the company hand over email data stored in an Ireland datacenter.

Microsoft initially had until July 31 to hand over the email data, but a court extended the company's deadline so it could work on an appeal.

Failing that, Microsoft has simply refused to comply, stating that doing so could set a dangerous precedent on a global scale.

No wonder tech companies like Apple, Cisco and others have thrown their support behind Microsoft in this battle.

Responsibility

"This case could have important implications outside the US. Other governments could demand emails held in datacenters outside their jurisdiction," Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch wrote in a Microsoft blog post on August 27.

He cited a law passed by the British government earlier in August that lets it force tech companies to provide email data no matter where it's stored. "This would include emails stored in the US by Americans who have never been to the UK," he wrote.

Microsoft's current stance on email privacy is a huge improvement over its previous one. Maybe we should have put more faith in the company when it said earlier this year it would no longer read users' emails, even if it suspects they're stealing from it.

"Microsoft is committed to delivering meaningful privacy protections that build trust with our customers, and we know how much you value the contents of your email," Lynch wrote.

He continued, "We believe your email belongs to you, not us, and that it should receive the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail - no matter where it is stored."

A judge has given the US government and Microsoft until September 5 to reach an agreement before the court forces a resolution.

Via Neowin