| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Aug 29 A judge on Friday lifted a
suspension on her order directing Microsoft Corp to
turn over a customer's emails stored overseas to U.S.
Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in
Manhattan had on July 31 upheld a magistrate judge's ruling on
the emails, which have been held in a data center in Ireland.
That prospect had drawn concern from technology companies
fearful of losing revenue from foreign customers worried that
U.S. law enforcement might win broad power to seize their data.
Preska had delayed enforcement of the government's search
warrant so Microsoft could appeal.
But prosecutors later said that because her order was not a
"final, appealable order" and because Microsoft had yet to be
held in contempt, there was no legal reason to enforce the stay.
Preska agreed, saying her order "merely confirmed the
government's temporary forbearing of its right to stay
enforcement of the order it secured."
She added that "the fact the court has not closed this case
cuts against Microsoft's argument" that her order was final and
The judge ordered both sides to advise by Sept. 5 how to
"Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the
appeals court," a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based
Microsoft said. "This is simply about finding the appropriate
procedure for that to happen."
The case appeared to be the first in which a corporation has
challenged a U.S. search warrant seeking data held abroad.
AT&T Inc, Apple Inc, Cisco Systems Inc
and Verizon Communications Inc submitted briefs
supporting Microsoft's opposition to the warrant.
The case is In re: A Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail
Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-mj-02814.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, additional
reporting by Bill Rigby in Seattle)