Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Your emails are a bit safer from the government’s eyes…so long as they are stored outside of the United States

In a big privacy and technology ruling, the Second Circuit vacated an order holding Microsoft in civil contempt for failing to comply with a warrant demanding user content that was stored in Ireland. The circuit concluded that US courts are not authorized to enforce “Stored Communications Act” warrants requesting electronic communications stored abroad. As Judge Lynch pointed out in his concurrence, if Microsoft stores your electronic communications abroad your privacy is now “absolute as against the government,” but, of course, your “privacy is protected against Microsoft only to the extent defined by the terms of their contract.”

And, in other news today, Johnson litigation continues…

Last year, in Johnson v. United States, the Supreme Court held the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act was void for vagueness. Last month, the Supreme Court granted cert in United States v. Beckles to decide whether Johnson applies retroactively to collateral cases challenging career offender sentences.

Today, the Second Circuit granted a petition to file a second or successive 2255 petition based on Johnson in a career offender case. The circuit, however, told the district court to wait before ruling on the motion until the Supreme Court decides Beckles.

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