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back to article Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

Microsoft has lost the first round in its fight to stop the US authorities from seizing customer data stored inside its overseas data centers. Following a two-hour hearing before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, District Judge Loretta Preska ruled that a US warrant ordering Microsoft to …

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Meh

Is that a cloud coffin nail I see before me?

More like a bunch of them I think.

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And to think, not long the cloud was all the rage. I would hate to be the admin who convinced their company to move to the cloud within the past few years.

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Nail in the cloud?

No, it's more like they want the world to know. They want you to get over it.

How else did they make so outcry after so much sleeping, cuddling for so many years.

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Anonymous Coward

And Google's and Apple's

I don't understand why this is even necessary. International co-operation between law enforcement agencies investigating drugs smuggling is AFAIK totally normally and non-contentious, at least in the Civilised World (tm).

Why don't the feds simply ask the Irish authorities for their help instead of bludgeoning the US tech industry to smithereens? That would be a lot simpler, quicker and would leave everyone including most users (apart from the individual(s) being investigated) entirely happy that things have been done properly.

This result will apply to Google and Apple too. If you're anyone anywhere in the world with an Android or iPhone or WinPhone then all your stuff can be asked for by Uncle Sam no matter where you live.

Seems to me that the consequences are severe:

1) If you're a company using Office 365, outlook.com, Gmail or Google Apps, or AWS, etc. then all your data can now be accessed by Uncle Sam. Any US agency with a warrant can get access to your stuff. That's not just law enforcement remember, I expect other parts of the US government can issue a warrant too. So if some agency in the US government fancies a peek at, for example, your intellectual property they can simply ask MS, Google, or whoever to hand it over. Continued use of those services is in effect taking a gamble that that won't happen. Is it worth risking an IPR leak just to save a bit of IT admin money?

2) BOYD suddenly looks like a bad idea for the same reason. Android and Apple kit is all heavily tied into their respective clouds, and who knows what is synced to their servers. Presumably it's the same for Microsoft phones too. The exception is BlackBerries tied to a company's servers using BES, where only the company (and not Blackberry) has the encryption keys. Or at least that's the idea.

3) This now exposes every business / financial person worldwide to the all encompassing US Wire Fraud Act. Previously to be subject to this your discussion about dodgy deals had to pass through US based servers. Now if you use an iPhone (or whatever) in London to discuss (or even just joke about) a dodgy share deal with a colleague in London then they have both committed a criminal offence under US law. People have already been extradited from Europe to the US and jailed for Wire Fraud offenses; it's now become a whole lot easier.

In short if you use US owned services or have an iPhone, Android or WinPhone (which will use those services behind your back) you are now subject to US law, even if you have no dealings with or presence in the US. The first time you'll know that they've taken an interest in you is when you transit there and get arrested.

Providing your own services is the only way to know where your data is and how it's accessed. That's straightforward for companies to arrange, not so for individuals.

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" I would hate to be the admin who convinced their company to move to the cloud within the past few years"

When did the admin have that much clout? It's usually an out-of-their-depth CIO who's going along with the CEO, who in turn was taken out for a very nice lunch by a bunch of IT or management consultants, and they told the CEO that the cloud was where it was happening, and if his company didn't move there, then competitors would eat his very nice lunch.

I'm not sure why directors are so gullible when faced with the sleazebag liars of the consultancy sectors, but all important aspects of corporate decision making seem to involve paying these people ludicrous amounts of money to sell poor quality and undifferentiated corporate, technological or commercial strategies that never address the real issues facing the companies concerned. Eighteen months later, the same consultants are re-employed and paid handsomely to offer some new insight, which in reality is a vast pile of powerpoint slides making irrelevant, selective and out of date comparisons, and has been marginally re-worked (by a handful of well qualified graduates with no real world experience) from a version touted round every competing player in the industry over previous months.

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@Ledswinger

Bravo!

You've managed to combine the subject matter with an absolutely top-notch rant that I completely agree with. Top post sir.

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Re: I'm not sure why directors are so gullible when faced

Because then they can tell the world that they have saved x by going with outsourced, the cost is transferred from one set of overheads to another. This makes their company profile look better to the people who invest because it fits better their expected company model on overheads etc. so the share price rises.

But in reality no one sees the decrease in efficiency in other parts of the company who now can't get IT problems sorted out so put in old style time consuming workarounds, and no one is left to tell the Director they are being ripped off because thought it only costs peanuts per hour - those peanuts add up when it takes weeks when someone who knew the system would fix in minutes

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Anonymous Coward

Cloud has already died

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufy15WWCmkc

Wouldn't it be nice if the data was in multiple jurisdictions

1001001.vg.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nail in the cloud?

What a circus. I think we will discover that nailing clouds is even harder than nailing jelly to a wall.

Can't wait to see which country becomes the first to provide proper data protection within its own borders while the US shoots itself in both feet. 'murrican companies are not the only ones selling cloud services, they are just the biggest. I wonder how long that will last.

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Re: Nail in the cloud?

You write: " I wonder how long that will last."

Long. VERY long. Simply because proper such protections will ultimately mean gunships.

Connect the dots: Data protection -> IP Piracy -> Money Laundering -> Drug Trafficking/Terrorism -> Frozen off USD denominated financial markets -> Commerce is severely hampered

So whoever decides on proper data protection will soon find themselves in the pervailing axis of badness of the time.

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Re: And Google's and Apple's

The point is of course that it isn't really about drugs or terrorism or other things they can easily ask European authorities for and it never was. It's about blanket surveillance of everyone and everything all the time specifically for all the things they cannot get warrants or cooperation for because they aren't legal or moral.

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Re: And Google's and Apple's

"Why don't the feds simply ask the Irish authorities for their help instead of bludgeoning the US tech industry to smithereens? That would be a lot simpler, quicker and would leave everyone including most users (apart from the individual(s) being investigated) entirely happy that things have been done properly."

Because they would be told to fuck off in no uncertain terms. The "Civilised World (tm)" has a concept you might have heard of known as "presumed innocent until proven guilty", the US has a shortened that to "presumed guilty".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nail in the cloud?

OR........

Anyone who cares about protecting their data will move it offshore or into their basement, much as corps and various bad guys already do with their money. The smart ones make sure they have good tax lawyers and follow all extant legislation. Right now, data protection is a legal and regulatory nightmare for banks, companies and governments. It is strangling a nascent recovery. The "your data are belong to us" mentality is an opening US salvo in a global trade war for everyone's data. It is the new gold and Amerika wants it all.

Commerce has not yet been severely hampered, just greatly inconvenienced. Like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, business will always find a way.

MS is trying to help clear the legal landscape so it can successfully market cloud services in non-US markets. Meanwhile the smart money will stay in smart people's wallets or look for alternatives. I predict more fragmentation and pretty good short-term opportunities for a few brave captains of enterprise and potential misery for many others. I am all for rule-of-law, but it has to be wielded by people who have a clue. And that is what is missing here.

It doesn't look very good, but if other countries just roll over and take it up the caboose, it won't get any better.

Letting the US legal system slowly define international data privacy and protection principles is like letting a lumbering, blind, mentally retarded, physically handicapped, heavily armed pedophile guard an orphanage. It ain't gonna work. Extra-territorial laws will just lead to war, oppression, confusion and pain. Check your history books.

All of us (not just Microsoft) need to fight this shit.

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Is that a cloud coffin nail I see before me?

Amen my friend. I've been arguing for quite a while that the "cloud" would be a privacy nightmare. A convenient one stop shop for the NSA, the DHS, the CIA and the FBI. Also, with the proof of concept recently on Amazon (botnet), the "cloud" is a hacker's wet dream. Here in the US where internet speeds vary dramatically depending on where you are and upload speeds are mostly dismal, accessibility is a real issue. Couple that with the loss of Net Neutrality and the user/business will pay a premium for faster speeds and so will the content provider. ISP's following, Wall Street's dictum, are making a play for absolute control of the internet while monetizing everything they can. Then of course, there is reliability. True mobility is not having to be connected to the internet 24/7 to get the job done or even entertain yourself, a higher end laptop will do just fine.

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Re: "the US has a shortened that to "presumed guilty"

So French then? (Given their history, it explains alot).

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Re: Nail in the cloud?

I don't expect to see the EU and China frozen out of USD-denominated markets anytime soon, and they are both Quite Likely (tm) to get at least a little arsey about any attempt by US courts to tell them what laws apply to systems sitting on their soil.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And Google's and Apple's

"Because they would be told to fuck off in no uncertain terms. The "Civilised World (tm)" has a concept you might have heard of known as "presumed innocent until proven guilty", the US has a shortened that to "presumed guilty".

That's mostly missing the point. International cooperation in drugs investigations is quite normal, and good cooperation leads to good results. This move by the US is tantamount to saying to other countries "We don't need your cooperation anymore". That's going to sour any existing investigatorial cooperation agreements, so the results on the whole will be worse. That's the last thing everyone needs, especially after all the badies will have moved away from US-associated services.

Regarding your quoting of "presumed innocent until proven guilty"; crime has to be investigated (we all want that to happen and happen properly, right?), it's just they're setting about investigating this one in a manner that will annoy a lot of people, countries and companies. If this is really just a fishing expedition then the US is going to cause itself a lot of harm with nothing up front to say that it's worth it. If it's definitely more than a fishing trip then it's a big insult to the Irish; it amounts to saying that the US doesn't trust them to help in an important investigation.

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Re: Nail in the cloud? @Ken Hagan

Agreed. What I was alluding to is the excuses employed to stop anyone granting proper data protection.

The EU, having repeatedly bent over to accommodate the yanks already is hardly likely to put up a fight.

As for China, I think there's a contradiction in terms if China starts defending data privacy (not a native English speaker but something about foxes and henhouses springs to mind).

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Re: Nail in the cloud?

Putting your data on a Microsoft server in Ireland rather than one outside the EU would comply with EU data protection laws, however it now appears that those rules are ineffective and need to be reviewed. But how do you do that? The contract is with Microsoft Operations Ireland Ltd, a company registered in an EU country. Ownership of an Irish company or a company based anywhere else in the EU could change at any time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And Google's and Apple's

@AC

In short if you use US owned services or have an iPhone, Android or WinPhone (which will use those services behind your back) you are now subject to US law, even if you have no dealings with or presence in the US. The first time you'll know that they've taken an interest in you is when you transit there and get arrested.

Dear fellow A/C, there is no "now" - THIS HAS BEEN THE CASE EVEN BEFORE 9/11.

However, post 9/11, even the last shred of control and transparency was sacrified to the greater good of keeping the war spend going "protecting Americans" and the fact that the vast majority of people on the globe are NOT Americans clearly defines them as fair game.

You have struck upon the dark secret especially Silicon Valley has been desperate to keep from you: there isn't a single US based entity that is legally in a position to protect your information if the authorities come a-knocking for whatever reason: there is a heady blend of 5 federal laws that allow them to walk in and get that data. Considering EU law, if you are a EU company you should not even /consider/ using a US company (or one with a HQ in the US) because they will cause you to be in breach before you know it. Now think what that means: still feeling clever for moving your company's email to Google (hello, Virgin Media)?

This is also the source of all these announcements of multimillion dollar investments in those new companies that will "save you from the NSA": camouflage. Because they cannot. And Silicon Valley companies did that all by themselves...

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Re: And Google's and Apple's

Given the way the Irish government has rolled over in order to get US corporations based on its territory, and given the notorious level of Irish government corruption, I doubt they would tell the US anything other than to hand over the usual brown paper bag of euros in exchange for what they wanted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nail in the cloud?

"Can't wait to see which country becomes the first to provide proper data protection within its own borders while the US shoots itself in both feet"

Switzerland is the country you are looking for.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And Google's and Apple's

"Presumably it's the same for Microsoft phones too. The exception is BlackBerries tied to a company's servers using BES, where only the company (and not Blackberry) has the encryption keys."

Nope - Windows Phone encryption - both SSL and Bitlocker are fully under corporate control and don't rely on cloud services from Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

"And to think, not long the cloud was all the rage. I would hate to be the admin who convinced their company to move to the cloud within the past few years."

You realise that you can just encrypt your data if this concerns your company?

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Anonymous Coward

"It's usually an out-of-their-depth CIO who's going along with the CEO, who in turn was taken out for a very nice lunch by a bunch of IT or management consultants, and they told the CEO that the cloud was where it was happening, and if his company didn't move there, then competitors would eat his very nice lunch."

I'm sure that helps, but it's usually the vast cost savings that really facilitate moving stuff to cloud based services...Our email and collaboration infrastructure is now effectively free after moving to Office 365 when we consider that a full Office license was included!

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Anonymous Coward

Presumable the EU 'right to be forgotten' trumps this and we can insist our data is deleted if we are concerned that the US might access it.

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Re: And Google's and Apple's

The Us does currently make tonnes of requests to Ireland for data stored there. However Irelands laws on this conform to EU regulations. This means the US has to submit a full application for each request then wait for responses etc. To follow this new avenue would allow the US administration to simply bypass such regulations and trawl the data en masse, or at least with much less oversight, similar to the access they currently enjoy to their own citizens data.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nail in the cloud?

Switzerland is the country you are looking for.

Yes and no - a few caveats apply. If you just set up a subsidiary there you have effectively gained nothing (sorry, US pretenders, but I know the laws here). In addition, the actual law that applies is the one that is formulated in Switzerland's national languages - that list does NOT include English. Next, there is the practical implementation of law and the connections you need to make that happen properly (you don't do this overnight, trust me), and last but not least, you must not just understand Swiss privacy law, but also how they work and how international requests for assistance work, there are plenty of land mines in that alone.

You need an in-depth understanding of the full legal picture (and how to screen for "unofficial leverage"), just placing your butt in Switzerland is not enough. Sadly, a number of US companies are doing exactly that, and are thus giving their clients a false sense of security (and that list includes some rather well known names).

Beware - deceiving customers is a LOT cheaper than doing it right...

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Re: presumed innocent until proven guilty

It's an interesting idea - law enforcement agencies are only allowed to seek evidence once the criminal has been convicted. However, there would seem to be certain practical problems with that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: presumed innocent until proven guilty

It's an interesting idea - law enforcement agencies are only allowed to seek evidence once the criminal has been convicted. However, there would seem to be certain practical problems with that.

It's a matter of transparency and balance. Law enforcement gets the privilege to ignore certain rights and obligations we have as members of a society for a reason - we WANT them to catch bad guys. However, they are not to use those privileges for anything else, which is what is happening now. Hence the need for much better transparency and control or there will come a reaction and a possibly far harsher clampdown that is good to keep law enforcement functioning. However, until there is evidence that they can be trusted with the powers they ask for, I certainly am not willing to hand them even more.

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Re: presumed innocent until proven guilty

However, until there is evidence that they can be trusted with the powers they ask for, I certainly am not willing to hand them even more.

Two comments: The first is that I would amend the italicized bit to read ". . . until there is evidence that they can be trusted with the powers that they HAVE . . .:

The second is that I take issue with the notion that law enforcement gets to ignore any of the rights and obligations of other members of society at large. In theory, a society accords them certain privileges and powers under a rule of law, so that they can exercise certain responsibilities on its behalf.

Law enforcement can, and occasionally does, ignore the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people it serves. But when they and we accept it as being appropriate the practical ability to attain any degree of balance and transparency are lost. We, as members of society, have no basis for requesting them. Law enforcement has no incentive reason to supply them.

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Law of non-reciprocity

One already is. Earlier this month the British government passed a law asserting its right to require tech companies to produce emails stored anywhere in the world. This would include emails stored in the U.S. by Americans who have never been to the U.K.

I look forward to seeing this in operation. Should provide a fair bit of entertainment.

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Re: Law of non-reciprocity

Indeed, the US is very much against anything happening to them, whilst at the same time doing exactly the same thing to everyone else.

And if the US law isnt up to it already, they will rush in something that shields them.

The "our troops can do no wrong" law, i forget the actual Act name, is a good example of this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Law of non-reciprocity

Agreed - I would love to see numerous US Citizens prosecuted for war crimes - just like they do for everyone else.

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Re: Law of non-reciprocity

The "our troops can do no wrong" law, i forget the actual Act name, is a good example of this.

Are you perhaps referring to "SoFA"... The "Status of Forces Agreement" Laws?

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Re: Law of non-reciprocity

No, wasnt SoFA, thats an agreement between nations.

It was the ASPA, the American Service Members Protection Act, brought in to protect US troops from the International Criminal Court.

It even allows the President to use force to free US troops being held by the ICC, regardless of guilt.

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Mushroom

Doom for US tech companies

So how many readers here, who are not US citizens, are planning to continue using Microsoft, Google or any other US based company's email or other cloud services now that this ruling says that the US can just grab what it wants from servers on foreign soil?

I am guessing this will only accelerate the UK's plan to move away from MS products, as well as Germany's!

If this ruling is upheld, they may as well just follow it up with an order to prohibit any US business overseas, because NO ONE is going to want to have their data subject to US snooping!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doom for US tech companies

Nah, they'll just bring in a law making it illegal to trade in the US or with US-based organisations if your infrastructure is not open to the US government - on the basis that you must have something to hide.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"Nah, they'll just bring in a law making it illegal to trade in the US or with US-based organisations if your infrastructure is not open to the US government - on the basis that you must have something to hide."

That would be slitting their own throat. The US economy would collapse literally - not figuratively - the next day.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

One potential side effect, as with corporations shielding themselves from US taxes, would be to incorporate in another country, one not inclined to comply with US law. Probably not an easy or inexpensive feat for existing companies, but a definite consideration for startups.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

Sorry, but no. The issue is "US legal attack surface." It doesn't matter if you are incorporated in another country. If you have any operations or assets in the US, then the US will say you must comply with them. That includes - at la megaupload - even renting servers in the US.

So not only is Microsoft legally bound to turn over all foreign data it controls, but if you use Microsoft's Azure and Office 365 then you are making yourself and your company subject to American law.

Now where is that Anonymous Coward Microsoft marketing shill to tell us how this is all totally irrelevant because Microsoft is the greatest company on Earth and the cloud is the future? Something comes up that on the face of it seems to be downright horrible for any non-Americans who might want to use cloudy computing - and it's certainly bad for Microsoft, who has bet the farm on same - and he's suddenly nowhere to be found!

Come on, let's get a debate going here, where he can jump in with things like "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear". I really do want to see him worm his way out of the fact that the US feels it has sovereignty over my data.

Dance marketing shill sockpuppet, dance!

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

Estimate:

~90% won't care enough to do anything

~9% will care and actually do something, but won't carry it through

~1% actually will do something effective

~0.01% actually will benefit in a measurable way

US Tech companies won't suffer a lot.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

I'm a US citizen and am already (to the degree possible) choosing companies located in free countries.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

A bit over the top on both sides. The US government won't do that (it would piss off too many Americans) and the US economy would not collapse if all non-US Microsoft/Google/Amazon etc. customers abandoned them (assuming they all could find alternatives that met their requirements).

And we are, after all, apparently talking about execution of a warrant in a criminal investigation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doom for US tech companies

The many billions that MS make from O365 seem to indicate that not many companies share your paranoid views Trevor. The plus side of all this cloudy stuff of course is that all the moaning junior sys admin cum 'journalists' that blather their 'Linux is great and MS is evil' views all over the internet will be looking for a new job as they will be surplus to requirements.

Whereas, us marketing and sales 'shills' who sell this cloudy stuff will continue to thrive :-)

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"the US economy would not collapse if all non-US Microsoft/Google/Amazon etc. customers abandoned them (assuming they all could find alternatives that met their requirements)."

You don't understand what I actually wrote. I said, in essence, that "in the eyes of US.gov and US.courts, anyone who does any business whatsoever in the USA makes themselves subject to US law." That's not something you get to argue, that's proven fact at this point.

I also said "if the US passed a law that said any company with a US presence must make available all their data for review by the US government at any time the US government says so, their economy would collapse the next day." I stick by that. Because that law would mean that any Russian, Chinese, etc company that did any sort of business in the US or had a US server, or rented a US server, or used a US cloud service etc would suddenly be on the hook to pony up unlimited amounts of data to the US without a warrant - which is what this whole case is about, BTW - and that is something that the rest of the world absolutely wouldn't put up with.

Functionally, I would instantly become illegal for Chinese, Russian and EU companies to do business in or with the US overnight. That would destroy their economy. And that is the only reason they don't do it.

"And we are, after all, apparently talking about execution of a warrant in a criminal investigation."

No, we're talking about the right of police and/or the courts to access that information without a proper international warrant. Merely the demand of a local bench judge. This is a completely unprecedented scenario and could have disastrous consequences for US economic relations, especially in sensitive industries where tensions already exist and industrial espionage is already rampant.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

Oh hey cowardly scumtoad! How ya been? Totally off your rocker as usual? Awesome.

I don't know where you've ever seem me saying "Linux is great". Must be those drug induced hallucinations of yours. I seem to recall writing quite a few articles and comments that thrashed various bits of Linux, from the community to specific packages. But how great or not Linux is doesn't change the fact that Microsoft behaves in a manner that is quite decidedly evil.

As for your "Microsoft makes many billions" off of Office 365, you are again full of shit. Office 365 is still only somewhere around $1.5B annual run rate. Run rate. Not profit. And there's a lot of money to be made from Americans and from those foreigners who either don't have data protection laws or don't care about their own data protection laws. Capitalizing on stupidity has proven profitable throughout human history.

But I note again that you keep pointing to the amount of revenue Microsoft pulls in as an attempt to demonstrate that Office 365 must have some "obvious" value. You never actually manage to prove this, you just assert and assert and point to revenue figures.

So let me repeat a few things. First: the mafia makes a big swack of cash out of protection money too. They will break your kneecaps if you don't pay up. That doesn't make the "service" the mafia provides good value for dollar. Secondly, a lot of companies - especially enterprises - get in bed with services like Office 365 and Azure not because it offers the best value for dollar, but because it allows those companies to bypass their internal purchasing rules and get what they want with less fighting.

One day, maybe, cloud computing will be a good enough value for dollar that it is ready to take over for locally run systems and permanently purchased licenses for all segments. Personally, I look forward to that day.

As much as you are completely incapable of understanding this, I don't want to run servers. I'm not some locally-installed systems fetishist trying to protect their job. I hate fixing computers. It's boring and it doesn't pay well when compared to creating content for marketing or even to tech journalism. With any luck, I'll be mostly out of the game by January, keeping my hand in only for select companies and as a consultant on some larger projects. (I have a 100,000 node dual-DC project in mid 2015, as one example.)

I don't want to own and run servers. I don't want to maintain servers for my clients. I don't like doing any of that shit at all. Wanting cloud computing to take over this tedium for me still doesn't make cloud computing the best value for dollar for my company or those of my clients.

Unlike certain anonymous cowards, I'm not some deluded narcissist that thinks that whatever I happen to like or believe magically becomes true. My job isn't to proselytize a religion, or profess a belief. It isn't to shill for a company or to push one computing model. My job is to find the best solution for my client's specific needs amongst the available offerings and to do so without any blinders or biases, even if that means recommending services or products I personally dislike.

Oddly enough, that's the exact same attitude I bring to my writing.

And yes, more than just the technology matters. Value for dollar encompasses everything from the trustworthiness of the company to the availability and visibility of a long term strategy, to the planned refresh cycles, to the history (if any exists) of the company and how it treats it's customers/partners/etc all the way through to disaster planning that ranges from technology to dips in revenue that could affect the availability or functionality of subscription-based IT services.

All of it has to be looked at, analyzed, and planned for bearing in mind the level of risk acceptance/aversion of the people who actually own and operate the companies in question.

As to my continued relevance, we....I'm a systems administrator by trade. I have backup plans for everything. I suspect I'll be here to refute your bullshit for quite some time to come.

You, on the other hand, only seem to have assertions to offer. Oh, that and calling me "paranoid". Good show, that really served as a grand comeback to the real world issues of both the legal complexities of data sovereignty and the ethical issues that underpin the whole conversation. Congratulations on that riposte, it was absolutely legendary.

At the end of the day, I am who I am, and the people who read my words - as an article or as a comment - can learn about my background and me in depth quite easily. They have a dozen ways to contact me to ask me specific questions about why I might say this or that. Ultimately, if something I say worries them or makes them want to chase that topic more to understand if something could affect them the ability to do so is there...and because they know my real name they can even quite easily find people who've worked with me in the real world and ask them pointed questions. My life, in that regard at least, is an open book.

You, on the other hand, are a coward. You won't put your name and your reputation to your comments. There's no ability to check out your background or question those you've worked with. There's nothing but assertion after assertion after assertion, most of it straight out of Microsoft's marketing guide. Hell you're arguments even evolve to echo Microsoft's marketing arguments whenever their playbook changes!

You don't offer a thoughtful, considered viewpoint with any depth of complexity. There's no nuance to your assertions and there's no middle ground. You parrot back Microsoft's party line with a dull persistence that borders on an elemental force while viciously attacking Linux, often with outright lies or - at best - half truths.

I despise you. Not because of what you say, but because of how you say it. I have no respect for you because you hide behind a cloak of anonymity, and use baseless assertions, lies, half truths and ad homenims to push an agenda that you hew to with religious fervor.

I despise everything you represent not because you champion a cause I disagree with, but because you go about it in a manner that lacks any form of personal honour. You are a bad person and - to be perfectly blunt - you make Microsoft look very, very bad.

That you personally champion Microsoft is probably as responsible for my loathing of Microsoft's business practices as what Microsoft actually does. You are the living embodiment of Microsoft's marketing messaging and methodology. Their voice made manifest.

For all the evil that Microsoft actually perpetuates it is the utter contempt with which they treat customers, partners, developers and staff that I find detracts most from their credibility and their trustworthiness. Every single post you make reinforces the reasons for that for me. it reminds me all over again exactly what it is about that company that is impossible to work with.

You are a poison. One set loose on the internet without restriction or morality...but it is your host that you are poisoning. It is Microsoft's name and image that you are degrading, not that of Linux, Apple or any other Redmondian competitors.

You obviously couldn't care less about what I think, and that's entirely your right. But I am absolutely positive that I don't speak merely for myself regarding the above. I am positive of this because I have had hundreds of commenters reach out to me to either complain about you, thank me for engaging with you or both.

So by all means continue with your manufactured tirade against me, Linux and whatever else you can find while pimping and promoting Microsoft. No matter how much you frustrate me personally, you ultimately are doing Microsoft a far greater disservice than I - or anyone else on these forums - ever could.

In the future, however, your arguments might bear a little bit more weight if you disabused yourself of ridiculous notions like "Trevor hates the public cloud" or "Trevor loves Linux." For the record, I hate everything until it has proven itself to me, and even then I am only interested in those products, services, companies and individuals which can be shown to provide the maximum value for dollar for the individual or company in question. And I absolutely don't believe that one size fits all.

Now, you can take all of this and twist it around, take it out of context or attempt to use it to paint me as a small man who obviously isn't as important as yourself. (And how could anyone ever know? As an anonymous coward you are nobody and you mean nothing.) Go right ahead. I'm not posting this for you. I'm posting it for me. To vent my spleen and so that I have a post to link to for future interactions.

Good luck with all your endeavors in the future.

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Pint

Re: Doom for US tech companies

Well said Sir!

I've been saying the same for several years when I found out that the US had passed a law extending their boundaries to the whole planet.

As I worked for a US company for 20years, I know from the mandatory US Export Licensing Training that we had to do, US Law applied to us even though we worked in the EU. What the US says basically trumps local law.

It does not need a PHD in Rocket Propulsion to realise that doing ANY business with a company that has ANY sort of presence in the US means that YOU are a potential target for US Lawmen. There is no escape.

So Mr Pott, have one on me.

The sooner more people understand the legal risks on doing business with the US the better.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies

"Good luck with all your endeavors in the future."

Wow! I did enjoy that Mr Pott. Reading it was like watching some gobshite in the pub finally given the good kicking they richly deserved, each finely crafted paragraph like a fast moving boot decelerating against sensitive body parts.

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Re: Doom for US tech companies@ jnemesh

"I am guessing this will only accelerate the UK's plan to move away from MS products, as well as Germany's!"

I think it may have escaped your notice that GCHQ and the NSA are joined at the hip. They are both unaccountable, both share the same mission to spy on both native and foreign populations to the maximum extent that technology will allow, and operate with a complete lack of proper oversight and a near limitless budget. The US and British government (whilst still spying on each other) have happily co-operated to share the job of global spy in chief, and the idea that the UK is moving away from MS products or taking a stand over NSA intrusion is sadly nonsense.

I think you're referring to the supposed adoption with immediate effect of ODF by government instead of proprietary MS formats, but this is tokenism, as most departments continue to publish Word and Excel documents, and even if they used ODF or HTML they won't have used FoOSS to write them.

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