Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Technology, Borders and the Law

An excellent and thought-provoking post by Amy L. Howe on her blog discusses the current case before the Supreme Court of the United States regarding law enforcement warrant based access to Microsoft E-mail stored overseas in Ireland.

This is but one example of a huge issue facing the law and courts as technology makes national borders increasingly meaningless.


Old laws, new technology and national borders: In Plain English

In 1986, when Congress passed the Stored Communications Act, the World Wide Web did not yet exist; that would not happen until three years later, when British scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented it in Switzerland. Electronic mail did exist, but – although Queen Elizabeth II had used it to send a message in 1976 – it was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it would later become. The SCA gives the government, if it obtains a warrant, the power to require an email provider to turn over the contents of emails. When the Supreme Court returns to the bench at the end of this month, the justices will consider a question that Congress likely didn’t think about 32 years ago: Is an email provider located in the United States required to turn over emails that it is storing overseas?

Click here for the full post.

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