"It seems to me that the government might have a strong position there that the statute focuses on disclosure", Roberts said. But the decision doesn't end the case.
There are also more effective ways for criminals to evade US warrants online, Rosenkranz said, a likely reference to encrypted chat systems that Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice leaders have argued allow criminals and terrorists to "go dark" online.
Rosenkranz also said that individual emails aren't broken up and stored in multiple sites across multiple countries.
Chief Justice John Roberts said Microsoft and others could effectively avoid any legal request by moving data from one country to another.
Microsoft argues that allowing Section 2703 to extend to data being stored on servers outside the USA was not contemplated by Congress and would ignore principals of global comity as well as treaties. "I suspect the government doesn't care".
The government's position, argued by Michael R. Dreeben, deputy solicitor general, is that the production of information by a USA company in a US court is "domestic conduct", whether or not the production involves the company's overseas facilities.
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that certain immigrants do not have a statutory right to periodic bond hearings is a blow for immigrants rights advocates, but their battle is not over as they set out to challenge long-term detention on constitutional grounds instead.
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A few justices at times seemed a bit daunted by the technological aspects of the case in their February 27 questioning, particularly when it came to understanding what actually occurs when a US law enforcement agency requires production of data stored overseas. He was fighting deportation after being convicted of misdemeanor drug possession and joyriding, and was ultimately released and allowed to stay in the United States.
Breyer, in his dissent, said the Supreme Court should have taken the case to decide that very issue. Plus, he urged the justices, the interests of law enforcement could not wait for Congress to pass a piece of legislation that likely would resolve the issue (that bill was only introduced in the Senate earlier this month). Sotomayor told Dreeben that, when it enacted the SCA, Congress was only trying to protect data stored in the United States. The Obama administration appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, and the Trump administration continued the case. Significantly, the appeals court ruled that the burden fell on the government to demonstrate that the immigrant was a danger or a risk to flee.
Civil rights groups such as the ACLU argued that the government is incorrectly interpreting the Fourth Amendment, and Microsoft said that this case concerns digital privacy, something that should be valued. The U.S. government disagreed that Ireland has an interest in this particular case, but it did not dispute this characterization of how the data storage system works when a firm complies with a warrant issued under the SCA.
In the 5-3 decision, the court's majority found that federal law says immigrants who face deportation "shall be detained" while their cases are being considered. There is an existing MLAT between the USA and Ireland, and between the US and the European Union, of which Ireland is a member.
Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared unsure how to resolve a dispute between Microsoft Corp. and the Justice Department over whether US law should allow prosecutors to compel technology companies to hand over data stored overseas.
Justice Elena Kagan recently announced her recusal from the case, presumably after discovering that she had worked on an aspect of it as USA solicitor general.
Will at least four other justices be more open to Breyer's "practical" solution?