For more than a year, the intense debate surrounding data access and control has raged on. After the San Bernardino massacre in December 2015, Apple and the FBI feuded about access to data on the iPhone 5C used by one of the attackers. Several other court cases touched on the subject of digital privacy throughout last year, including one we covered in our blog in December 2016 in which the Florida Court of Appeals bucked the trend of siding on behalf of protecting users by ruling that the government can force an iPhone user to release the passcode to unlock his/her phone. This week, privacy proponents have been dealt another blow.
On Friday, Feb. 4, a U.S. magistrate ruled against Google, ordering the tech giant to cooperate with FBI search warrants demanding access to user emails stored on servers outside of the United States. Given a recent ruling in favor of Microsoft in a similar case, the battle is likely far from over.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter in Philadelphia ruled on Friday that transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure.
The judge said this was because there was “no meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest” in the data sought.
“Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centers abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States,” Rueter wrote.
Google and others had been hoping that the Microsoft ruling would create some legal guidance for similar cases, as the laws on the books pertaining to such issues, including the Stored Communications Act of 1986, are outdated and insufficient. As abstract property in the form of data continues to be a bone of contention, intervention by Congress or the Supreme Court may be necessary to help put an end to the data access debate. In fact, Judge Susan L. Carney who presided over the Microsoft case highlighted this in her ruling:
“We recognize at the same time that in many ways the [Stored Communications Act] has been left behind by technology. It is overdue for a congressional revision that would continue to protect privacy but would more effectively balance concerns of international comity with law enforcement needs and service provider obligations in the global context in which this case arose.”
In the meantime, companies are encouraged to take steps to protect the data on company-owned and BYOD devices through enterprise mobility management to help avoid unnecessary conflict that continues to surround this critical issue. Contact our team for help determining the right solution for your organization.
As cybersecurity presents an increasingly complex and concerning environment for personal, business and government safety, attention to the secure use of mobile devices is more important than ever for individuals around the world. In fact, recent news of cybercriminals and hackers having connections deeply rooted in the Russian government, as well as the thousands of unauthorized “app stores” hosted in China, has underscored the growing number of threats in existence — and therefore a clear need to be proactive.
From the telephone to email to intranets to enterprise social networks, businesses have long worked to apply the latest technologies in the hopes of improving efficiency and productivity. Despite the effort, it appears many companies are currently missing the mark. In fact, according to a recent Global Engagement Survey conducted by Oracle, 56 percent of employees reported not having access to the latest technology needed to do their jobs well.
In this environment of expanding digital workspaces, mobile devices are connected to more data than at any other time in history. Study after study shows that mobile access is increasing at an exponential rate. This comes as no surprise given that each of us are finding ways to use our mobile devices for an incredible number of functions, from sending email to conducting research, from shopping to looking up driving directions, from accessing company resources to creating on-the-job efficiencies.
Last month, we shared insights into the leadership of AirWatch as evidenced by its increasing market share and top billing in the most recent Gartner Enterprise Mobility Management Magic Quadrant. In the meantime, the company continues to innovate to enhance the EMM customer experience and enable simple and enterprise secure digital workspaces for businesses of all sizes. If you haven’t had a chance to keep up on the most recent AirWatch updates, here is a quick summary for reference.