As more and more content ranging from emails to personal information is being stored virtually in the cloud, questions about who should be able to access this content and how they must obtain the information are starting to arise. Currently, Microsoft has challenged the ability of the US government to obtain information stored in one of their data centers located abroad. If the information was stored in a physical form, the United States would have to work in cooperation with the government of the country in which the information is stored. However, the law is not as black and white concerning digital files. Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Microsoft Brad Smith states that is the responsibility of not only tech companies but also Congress to start setting precedents for laws regarding internet privacy so citizens can trust and understand digitally-storing files.

Smith also states that views on who has ownership of digital files may need to be altered. He explains that companies providing online storage have no more ownership of the files than the post office has of the content of a letter that is being mailed. Congress will also have to decide whether physical borders between countries continue to exist in the virtual world. Though the technicalities and concerns about internet privacy may seem confusing, Smith reassures tech users that measures are already being implemented that relieve citizens of having to worry about their privacy being violated even if they don’t understand all the ins and outs of cloud storage.

Article via Above the LawAugust 18, 2015

Photo DSC_6005 via Judson Weinsheimer [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]