Yahoo can provide dead man's emails to family, court says

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At issue is a decision past year that has severely restricted law enforcement's ability to acquire digital evidence stored on computers outside the United States - a limit that has held back criminal investigations all over the country.

The case hinges on whether a US warrant can compel American companies to turn over data stored on servers outside the United States.

Some of the suspect's data was being stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland.

The DOJ is appealing a lower court ruling that said federal prosecutors couldn't obtain emails stored on overseas Microsoft servers as part of a drug trafficking investigation.

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"The government was right to appeal to Congress for the same reason it is wrong to ask this court to intervene now: Under this court's settled extraterritoriality doctrine, revising a federal statute to account for the globalization of data is a job for Congress, not courts", the company wrote.

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reverse the lower courts.

A ruling in the DOJ's favor could dissuade customers from using cloud services. A lower court ruled past year that it did does not, meaning that the Justice Department needs to follow the same procedures used to obtain physical evidence stored outside the United States.

Microsoft may have won its fight to protect overseas data from American search warrants, but it can't rest easy.

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A coalition of 33 USA states and Puerto Rico backed the justice department's appeal.

A Supreme Court ruling could overturn the ruling or affirm it - either way, it would cement into place the reach of the Stored Communications Act.

At issue is whether the emails are beyond the reach of domestic search warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Bloomberg News and the National Law Journal (sub. req.) report.

The Justice Department filed a motion to take the case to the Supreme Court in June.

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The legal battle, launched in 2013, has already endured two rounds - with a judge initially ordering Microsoft to hand over all related emails in 2014.

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