Access to extraterritorial evidence: The Microsoft cloud case and beyond
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A case involving Microsoft that is currently before the US courts has raised important issues between the respective legal regimes in the European Union and the United States, particularly in relation to the protection of personal data. The case in question has given rise to a degree of legal uncertainty and the outcome could have potentially serious implications for data protection in the EU. By seeking direct access to data held in the EU through the US judicial system, existing legal mechanisms for mutual assistance between jurisdictions may be being effectively bypassed. There are fundamental issues at stake here as regards the protection of personal data that is held within the European Union. This is clearly an area where technological advances have taken place in a very rapid fashion. The right to privacy should be afforded maximum protection whilst ensuring that law enforcement agencies have the necessary mechanisms at their disposal to effectively fight serious crime.
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