back to article Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

The kindly community of benevolent technology corporations has written to a Pennsylvania court to support Google as it fends off a warrant demanding information stored on overseas servers. The warrants were issued as part of two criminal investigations led by the FBI. In them, the government has demanded, among the other …

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"since the suspects' data would be "searched" on US soil, there would be no "extraterritoriality" "

Implying that a US judge can issue a warrant for US fuzz to seize the contents of my house, as long as they don't actually examine them until they've got them back to the US.

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Anonymous Coward

I thought that as well.

I wonder what the response would be if a UK judge decided to issue a warrant to a US company to turn over the data in the US to a the London Met?

The great orangu-trump would go ballistic,

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@AC, Agree with you up to your last sentence which has nothing to do with the case and is just political virtue signalling.

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Headmaster

"@AC, Agree with you up to your last sentence which has nothing to do with the case and is just political virtue signalling."

Nah. Our "special relationship" with 'Murica has always been this lopsided.

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Worked for the CIA et al. doing rendition of IS suspects from foreign soil and only tortured on US soil. So there is a precedent.

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Facepalm

"extraterritoriality"

It would make perfect sense for European judges to issue arrest orders against this American judge for violating European laws, in exactly the same way they'd do against an "Islamic judge" for issuing fatwas against European citizens or residents.

And Privacy Shield: HA! HA! HA!

Uncle Sam, please sod off.

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Re: "extraterritoriality"

Could we get the US Judge arrested for GBH against the English language?

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Anonymous Coward

meaningless term

Downvoted for use of the term: "virtue signalling". You need only to wear a poppy in November or to grow or shave a beard to do that. As we all do this all the time we're not eating junk food in our underwear and choose to refrain from shouting at wheelie bins, use of this term contributes nothing useful to a discussion.

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Re: meaningless term

use of this term contributes nothing useful to a discussion.

You've phrased it far more politely than I was about to.

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Re: meaningless term

"use of this term contributes nothing useful to a discussion."

I'm not sure. It says a good deal about the mental processes of those who use it.

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Big Brother

The consequence of forcing US companies to violate international law

Would be either economic (and subsequently political) isolation or the "normalisation" of international law.

I suspect the prevailing climate of ultra-nationalism favours the former, however both outcomes have potentially dire consequences, depending on whose laws we "normalise" toward.

Impulsively I wish for the former, even though I despise nationalism, purely out of the selfish hope that this will spare the rest of us the continued horrors of American hegemony.

But then I remember what happened the last time an ultra-nationalist superpower alienated itself...

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Anonymous Coward

"@AC, Agree with you up to your last sentence which has nothing to do with the case and is just political virtue signalling."

@Ivan 4: It's called a comedic comment and is meant as a humorous remark on one of the prime idiots in the news lately. Being "offended" by such a comment strikes me as at odds with the general tone of the dullards and hillbillies that would much rather shout at you for being "politically correct." As is their usage as a derogatory remark rather than a plea for common decency. That went out the window when the hillbillies voted in a racist, misogynistic, anti-science, contractor and tax cheat, tea party douchebag dressed up as a "world leader." To remark otherwise places you directly in that camp. If that is your ilk, then live up to it, rather than complain like a bitch. Thanks!

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I wonder what the response would be if a UK judge decided to issue a warrant to a US company to turn over the data in the US to a the London Met?

Maybe another country (not necessarily yours) needs to do this? Force this issue.

I do have to wonder why the MS case didn't set a precedent for this? Even if it's under appeal, the ruling would stand until the appeals process is completed. Just a tad bit of over-reach by the TLA in this and the local judge who is allowing it.

For that matter, if the FBI wants the info, why haven't they approached the court in the country in question about it? Or Interpol?

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I do have to wonder why the MS case didn't set a precedent for this?

IIRC, the judge said that Google routinely backs up emails and changes the position of backups between data centers, for network balancing and the like. So they just have to "rebalance" the backups so that they are situated in the US, and then it's fair game.

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"SEARCHED" ?

SO IF THEY CAN REACH INTO MY HOUSE WITH A FISHING ROD AND NICK MY KEYS, IT'S OK BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT STANDING ON MY PROPERTY ?

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"go ballistic"

Up vote for that!

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Anonymous Coward

"The great orangu-trump would go ballistic"

Ape shit my friend, ape shit.

You had 90% of a joke then fucked it all up.

*flips table and leaves*

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Boffin

Re: meaningless term

To some extent, the pejorative use of the phrase is virtue signalling to a different (less virtuous?) group.

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Are the account holders US residents?

If they can establish that then I think the authorities should have the right to do so with a court order - otherwise companies would be able to avoid lawful discovery everywhere in the world by keeping data in a different country from its owner.

If its a fishing expedition where they don't have any idea who owns the accounts, too bad. Go back and do more police work.

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Re: Are the account holders US residents?

If they can establish that then I think the authorities should have the right to do so with a court order - otherwise companies would be able to avoid lawful discovery everywhere in the world by keeping data in a different country from its owner.

I think you are rather missing the fundamentals of sovereignty. If the account holders are resident in the US then the appropriate measure would surely be to apply sanctions on them to encourage cooperation. This might be appropriate for non-residents too but would tend to have less value in practice

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Re: Are the account holders US residents?

Apply sanctions on them? What sort of sanctions? Take away their driver's license? Put them in jail? Beat them with a rubber hose?

If I was being investigated for a crime and the prosecutor got a court order to search my banking records, they don't go to me to for my bank card or online ID. They go to the bank. The same should apply if they want to search my email. They should go to my email provider, not to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Bullshit

The government's seizure has been limited to “the contents of all files, documents, images, videos, emails … and communications in the [three email] accounts[.]

So they don't want to to know who sent or received the emails or files then?

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Re: Bullshit

So you think an email only consists of a body and that 'communications' are not metadata?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullshit

Going after deleted draft unsent emails too, it's getting close to the Thought Police.

Another reason never to use Gmail (and its autosave feature) to draft emails 'in situ', it's effectively a keylogger in that situation.

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Re: Bullshit

I agree with the complaints about extra-territoriality. Definitely seems that it should be declined for this reason.

However, asking for draft messages is understandable because people including David Petraeus have been found out for sharing classified information and having two people sharing the same email account and reading messages in the draft folder to avoid actually sending messages in the hope of not being intercepted. This is almost certainly why the FBI wants the draft folder:

From the NY Times:

"In September 2012, Broadwell told agents that she and Petraeus would use the same email account, saving messages in the “draft” folder instead of sending them. "

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Turnabout

While there are few countries in middle-Europe who would try this I could see Russia or China quite happy to use this to demand data from a US based server under reciprocity (if I have the spelling correct).

If that ever happens then the US are stuffed as they will not be able to block such a request without removing this legal fiction which allows them to try it on.

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Re: Turnabout

The US routinely spurns the principle of reciprocity, see how it handles requests about tax evasion.

But I don't really see Russia or China doing something like this except for propaganda: they have no concept of due process and probably have other ways of getting the information they want, which probably one of the reasons that services like Telegram are popular in Russia: if the stuff is properly encrypted then there's not much point in trying to get hold of it.

But for somewhere like the EU: pushing too hard on something like this is a sure way to get the new fig leaf called "privacy shield" declared insufficient. The FBI should follow due process and get a warrant in the country of the relevant jurisdiction, shouldn't be too hard if they have anything like reasonable grounds for suspicion.

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Boffin

Re: Turnabout

I fear, Kevin, that you grievously misunderstand the norms of legality in international affairs ; to paraphrase a certain well-known political figure, if the US does it, it is not illegal. Such affairs are not based, as the naive might wish to believe, on the adage that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, but rather upon quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. There is not doubt but what Russia, China, and every country other than the US fall into the bovine category....

Henri

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"arguing that since the suspects' data would be "searched" on US soil, there would be no "extraterritoriality"

Somebody please mail a link to this article to the EU. This is about as much as the Americans consider or care about anybody else's laws.

Yes, the data could be ransacked on US soil, but it isn't there. What "could" or "would" counts for nothing. Only what is. And what is is, yet again, some minor ranking judge listening to the three-letters and then ruling that US law applies everywhere. Again.

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Devil

Poor FBI, can't do right for doing wrong.

I mean they could have just demanded the data and hidden the demand behind a gagging order.

Instead they craft a perfectly good warrant, get a judge to sign off on it and do it all out in the open.

You gotta give them some props for trying.

It does amuse me that they seem to think getting an American judge to sign off on something gives them global reach. They could have reached out to Interpol and then onwards to local law enforcement but nope. Bless.

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Foresight

Somehow I think it is a 'likely' that this judge has never been further east than Martha's Vineyard. Nor will they ever.

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Re: Foresight

"Judge Rueter was born on July 12, 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated

summa cum laude from the University of Scranton in 1977 and in 1980 received a J.D. from

Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, where he was Notes Editor of the

Law Review. From 1980 to 1982, he was a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph L. McGlynn, Jr.,

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

He was an associate of the Philadelphia law firm of White and Williams from 1982 to

1985. From 1985 to 1994, Judge Rueter was an Assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia,

and from 1990 to 1994, he served as Chief of the Narcotics Section. Judge Rueter was appointed

as a United States Magistrate Judge on February 22, 1994. He previously served as Chief

Magistrate Judge from 2007 to 2011."

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contents of all communications and related transactional records ...including...deleted

Does google have a backup of all the deleted spam from its 12 years of operation?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: contents of all communications and related transactional records ...including...deleted

As a mimimum, it'll keep a single copy / referencing that single copy per account. aka. De-dupe Backups. If that info is regularly accessed, it will be reconstructed as a local easily accessed cached copy, until such time its dedundant unused data.

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Headmaster

Anyone else bothered by the stock map illustration?

It locates "Silicon Valley" in the East Bay rather than its proper Peninsula/Santa Clara Valley location.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone else bothered by the stock map illustration?

Well, better off there than planting the flag right smack dab in the middle of SF!

Until the 1990s, San Francisco didn't want to have anything to do with Silicon Valley. Now, they think they are part of it because some crappy web companies setup shop in their overpriced sea-town in the past decade or two. :P Valley Wankers!

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Re: Anyone else bothered by the stock map illustration?

@AC

I suspect a Russian disinformation campaign to twist the "facts" of the West's stock photo websites, leading to confusion, fake news, Irish unification and Scexit.

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Re: Anyone else bothered by the stock map illustration?

From Blighty the distance error isn't a larger percentage, but yes, the flag is in the wrong place even if the rent in the flagged area is the same, $3,400/month. F! the Silicon Valley.

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Mushroom

Team America

World Police.

Fuck Yeah!

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Missing some data

If the information that the nosey judge wants is for non-US citizens and the data is stored in Europe, the judge should know better and have done some research into EU privacy laws. Unopened/unread mail in the US is supposed to be immune from subpoena to prevent implicating somebody using communications for which they have no knowledge.

People should take notice about what is being requested and how far back and realize that using Google is not a good thing. Using the same set of facts, writers can create thousands of movie scripts including ones that have you living behind bars. The less The Man knows about you, the better.

Eric and Sergey have long exchanged their company principle of "Do no evil" in favor of "make as much money as possible and buy a Hawaiian island like Larry".

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