While the decision is no doubt disappointing to those who wish to strengthen the protections afforded to data stored in the cloud, it is important to understand that this ruling is far narrower than has been widely reported. First, Preska only specifically addressed criminal investigations in which the government must first prove probable cause to a magistrate judge in order to obtain a search warrant. The decision does not concern civil discovery, for which there would only be a subpoena not subject to prior judicial review or similar burdens of proof.
Second, while many media reports have claimed that the decision was contrary to foreign privacy laws protecting the requested emails, it was clear from the transcript that Microsoft never raised such a conflict of law.
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