Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Cisco have teamed up to support Google in an amicus brief after a court ruling ordered the search engine company to hand over emails stored on servers overseas following an FBI warrant, Business Insider reported.
“When a warrant seeks email content from a foreign data center, that invasion of privacy occurs outside the United States — in the place where the customers’ private communications are stored, and where they are accessed, and copied for the benefit of law enforcement, without the customer’s consent,” the companies said.
The amicus brief, which is filed by parties who have an interest in the case but are not involved, outlines the tech companies’ interest on keeping U.S. authorities from accessing customer data stored outside the United States.
They also referenced a recent case involving Microsoft, in which a federal judge decided the company and other firms could not be forced to hand over customer emails stored outside the U.S. to the FBI.
What data Google has to give up isn’t clear, however, the company said last month it planned to appeal the decision.
In the amicus brief, the companies’ argued the decision by the Pennsylvania judge “invites foreign nations to reciprocate by likewise demanding that local offices of U.S. technology companies turn over U.S. citizens’ private communications stored on U.S. soil.”
The tech firms continued writing, “Our sister nations clearly view US warrants directing service providers to access, copy, and transmit to the United States data stored on servers located within their territory as an extraterritorial act on the part of the US government.”
Google and Microsoft’s cases are based on warrants issued under the U.S. Stored Communications Act signed in 1986, which is considered outdated by many tech firms. In the amicus brief companies argued the congress should decide if the law should apply overseas, not the judiciary.
“Because execution of a warrant seeking data stored abroad constitutes an improper extraterritorial application of the SCA, the magistrate judge’s ruling should be set aside,” the companies said. “The magistrate judge’s approach allows for an intrusion upon foreign sovereignty that Congress has not authorized.”
Google said last month it “will continue to push back on overbroad warrants.”