Jonathan Stempel reports:
A U.S. judge has ordered Google to comply with search warrants seeking customer emails stored outside the United States, diverging from a federal appeals court that reached the opposite conclusion in a similar case involving Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia ruled on Friday that transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure.
The judge said this was because there was “no meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest” in the data sought.
Read more on Reuters.
Update: I seem to have lost a day somewhere, because no sooner did I tweet a message to Orin Kerr to request he blog about this, than @emptywheel kindly pointed out to me that he already has.
After summarizing the issue and opinion, Orin comments, in part:
1) Although I think the Second Circuit’s opinion is deeply flawed — the more I think of it, the more I think my argument in this post has to be correct — I don’t think the reasoning of this decision works. The issue in this case is statutory, not constitutional. Even if you accept the (wrong) framing of the issue as being whether the SCA applies outside the United States, the answer has to come from what Congress focused on, not where the constitutional privacy interest may or may not be.
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.