Microsoft looks set to be found in contempt of court after defying an order from a US judge that it should hand over data stored in Ireland.
Judge Loretta Preska, chief of the US District Court in Manhattan, has lifted a stay on her previous order that Microsoft must give email messages held in an Irish data center to US prosecutors investigating a criminal case.
However, Microsoft is refusing to comply. While the judge has concluded that the order itself isn’t appealable, a refusal to play ball by Microsoft could force her to find the company in contempt. Microsoft could then appeal against that finding to continue arguing its case.
“We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s emails deserve strong privacy protection in the US and around the world,” says Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith in a statement. “The only issue that was certain this morning was that the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process.”