A judge in the US has ordered Microsoft to hand over a customer's emails, even though the data is held in Ireland.
The judge ruled internet companies will have to hand over users' data even if it is held abroad. Microsoft attempted to challenge the search warrant however, on the basis that the information was stored exclusively on computer servers outside the US.
The search warrant, issued to Microsoft by US authorities, sought information associated with a member of the public's email account, including their name, credit card details and contents of all messages.
Microsoft previously said it planned to offer business and government clients control over where their data resided, however the ruling undermines that pledge.
David Howards, Microsoft's deputy general counsel said: "A US prosecutor cannot obtain a US warrant to search someone's home located in another country, just as another country's prosecutor cannot obtain a court order in her home country to conduct a search in the United States.
"We think the same rules should apply in the online world, but the government disagrees."
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