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​Judge: Google must give FBI emails stored overseas

This reported ruling goes counter to an appeals court judgment last year that Microsoft didn't have to hand over data stored on servers in Ireland.

A judge rules Google will have to hand over emails stored on a foreign server to the FBI.
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

A US judge reportedly ruled Friday that Google has to comply with an FBI search warrant seeking customer emails stored on a foreign server.

That goes counter to a ruling last year in which a federal appeals court said Microsoft did not have to hand over data stored on its servers in Ireland.

The FBI warrant in question stems from a domestic fraud investigation, according to Reuters. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia reportedly ruled that transferring emails from a foreign server for FBI agents to review them locally "did not qualify as a seizure" because there was "no meaningful interference" with the account holder's "possessory interest" in the data sought.

The ruling underscores a dilemma Silicon Valley companies face as they build up troves of customer data. In recent years, tech giants, including Apple and Facebook, have been at odds with law enforcement agencies that argue they need the customer data to do their jobs. Silicon Valley has argued in favor of consumer privacy.

Google -- a division of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet -- issued the following statement about the ruling: "The magistrate in this case departed from precedent, and we plan to appeal the decision. We will continue to push back on overbroad warrants."

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