The Irish government on Tuesday issued a supporting brief in lawsuit against tech giant Microsoft over the data held on its Dublin-based servers.
“Respect Irish sovereignty,” Ireland told the US court which is hearing a legal dispute over allowing US law enforcement to access email communications possessed by Microsoft in Dublin.
“Ireland respectfully asserts that foreign courts are obliged to respect Irish sovereignty (and that of all other sovereign states) whether or not Ireland is a party or intervener in the proceedings before them,” said an amicus curiae brief which was filed on Tuesday in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The New York authorities have sought accessibility to information stored at Microsoft’s servers in Ireland. The authorities have earlier won a legal case requiring the technology company to provide this information to them.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has appealed the decision along with a number of other companies supporting them for several reasons, including privacy, protection and commercial concerns.
Now, the Irish government has raised its voice in the case in an ‘amicus’ brief, in which it mentions that a foreign court must respect the sovereignty of the nation in such matters, even if there is no direct intervention.
The brief also cited the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the United States and Ireland, saying “the country would be pleased to consider, as expeditiously as possible, a request under the treaty, should one be made.”
The brief also mentioned the instance of an Irish Supreme Court case – Walsh v National Irish Bank (2013) – saying the case may be of relevance to the consideration of the court as it is related to the accessibility of rights to data held in a foreign jurisdiction.
Microsoft Ireland’s managing director Cathriona Hallahan hailed the government, saying the step would indeed “send a strong signal to the US Court about the importance placed on the matters in dispute.”
Brad Smith, Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel, said “the intervention underscores that an international dialogue on this issue is not only necessary but possible.”