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Google must turn over foreign emails, says U.S. judge

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Staff Writer | February 6, 2017
A U.S. judge has ordered Google to comply with search warrants seeking customer emails stored outside the United States.
Technology   U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter
He is diverging from a federal appeals court that reached the opposite conclusion in a similar case involving Microsoft Corp.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia ruled on Friday that transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure.

The judge said this was because there was “no meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest” in the data sought.

“Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centers abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States,” Rueter wrote.

Googl said in a statement: “The magistrate in this case departed from precedent, and we plan to appeal the decision. We will continue to push back on overbroad warrants.”