United States Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in United States v. Microsoft Corporation: Court Will Review Whether a Warrant Issued Under the U.S. Stored Communications Act Compels a U.S.-Based Entity to Disclose User Account Data Stored Abroad

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - October 17, 2017

On October 16, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in United States v. Microsoft, No. 17-2.  The case presents the question whether a U.S.-based entity (Microsoft) must comply with a probable-cause-based warrant issued under Section 2703 of the Stored Communication Act by disclosing to federal prosecutors certain customer data stored overseas.  The Supreme Court will review the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruling that Microsoft did not have to comply with the warrant because the Stored Communications Act did not apply extraterritorially.  The Supreme Court’s decision may have significant implications for the ability of law enforcement agencies to obtain communications data stored outside the United States.  Additionally, the decision might provide clarity for companies that must navigate among the competing demands of law enforcement requests, customer privacy, and the laws of foreign jurisdictions.