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The Supreme Court fight over Microsoft’s foreign servers is over

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft
Amit Madheshiya | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft

The much-anticipated Supreme Court case US v. Microsoft — which could have decided the extent of American jurisdiction over foreign servers — is now, for all intents and purposes, dead. On March 30th, the Department of Justice moved to drop the lawsuit as moot, and today, Microsoft filed to agree with the motion. While the Supreme Court has yet to officially drop the case, it's a foregone conclusion that they will.

Both the government and Microsoft agree that the newly passed CLOUD Act renders the lawsuit meaningless. In US v. Microsoft, federal law enforcement clashed with Microsoft over the validity of a Stored Communications Act warrant for data stored on a server in Dublin. The CLOUD Act creates clear new procedures for procuring legal orders for data in these kinds of cross-border situations. In last week's motion to vacate, DOJ disclosed that it had procured a new warrant under the CLOUD Act.

Although the new law is not without controversy, Microsoft supported the CLOUD Act while it was still a bill and again took the opportunity praise it in its Supreme Court filing, calling it a "nuanced legislative scheme that creates a modern legal framework for law-enforcement access to data across borders."

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