Employers group Ibec has filed a brief with the US Supreme Court in relation to the consideration of a case relating to US government attempts to access emails held on Microsoft servers in Ireland.

Ibec said the brief is intended to assist the court in its hearing of a US government appeal of a decision by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The lower court had found that a US criminal warrant was not unilaterally enforceable in respect of email accounts held in other jurisdictions.
Microsoft had successfully challenged a search warrant secured by federal prosecutors wanting to obtain emails stored on its computer servers in Dublin in connection with a drug trafficking investigation.

The company had argued that to hand over the emails directly would undermine people's trust in cloud computing services and set a dangerous precedent.

Microsoft, which has 100 data centres in 40 countries, was the first US company to challenge a domestic search warrant seeking data held outside the country.

Paul Sweetman, Director of Technology Ireland - the Ibec group that represents the sector - said the case is not just about one company. 

"It will have far reaching implications for any organisation that manages and handles data, be they headquartered in the US or simply have a US base," Mr Sweetman said. 

"Data and data management underpin the modern economy. Companies and their customers must have predictability and a clear legal framework on how that data is both managed and safeguarded," he added.

Ibec filed the brief along with the Federation of German Industries, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Polish Confederation Lewiatan and the French Business Federation.