The Government has issued a supporting brief in Microsoft’s US legal case over data held on its Dublin-based servers.
New York authorities are seeking access to information stored on the company's Irish servers and previously won a court case requiring the technology company to provide this.
Microsoft is currently appealing the decision, however, with a number of other firms backing them for a number of reasons, including protection, privacy and commercial concerns.
The Government here has now added its voice to the case in an ‘amicus’ brief, in which it says that a foreign court should respect the country’s sovereignty in matters such as this; even if they do not directly intervene.
It says that there is currently a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Ireland and the United States, and says the country “would be pleased to consider, as expeditiously as possible, a request under the treaty, should one be made.”
The brief also suggests an Irish Supreme Court case - Walsh v National Irish Bank (2013) – may be of relevance to the court’s consideration as it relates to access rights to data held in a foreign jurisdiction.
Managing director of Microsoft Ireland Cathriona Hallahan welcomed the Government’s love and said the step would “send a strong signal to the US Court about the importance placed on the matters in dispute.”
Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith said the intervention “underscores that an international dialogue on this issue is not only necessary but possible.”