Microsoft recently became the first large company to speak out for its users privacy concerns, following a recent ruling by a US court ordering Redmond to hand over user data that was being stored in a data center based in Ireland. Microsoft contended that aside from being a violation of Ireland’s sovereignty, the order was deemed to be a violation of the user’s rights, and as such they voluntarily entered contempt for failing to carry out the court’s orders.
Now, in their appeal against the court’s ruling, they have acquired a number of powerful new allies. Among these stalwart additions to the cause can be found Apple, Google, Amazon, AT&T, The Guardian, The Washington Post and HP. That so many have joined the action is indicative of many things, the first certainly being the culture that pervades throughout Western society at the moment, where privacy is a major concern to the extent that companies such as Blackphone are manufacturing their own devices and operating system aimed exclusively at protecting user data.
The second reason is far more palpable however, at least for the firms in question. As more and more enterprise customers choose to move their dealings to the cloud, terabytes of sensitive information is being handed to strangers, as such trust is a major concern. The firms who seek to make a profit hosting enterprise data must be seen as against government or indeed any other potentially hostile intrusion, for if not their customers may simply take their business elsewhere. As shown above, all involved have a direct relationship with the outcome of this case, as such they wholeheartedly wish to see a ruling in their favor.
What the fallout of this situation will be is yet to be seen, as is its conclusion. What is for sure however is that, however this case ends up being decided, the precedent set will have a massive implication for privacy related issues throughout the USA for a number of years yet.
Do you support Microsoft in their case? Let us know in the comments below.