Amazon, HP, eBay Join Microsoft Bandwagon in Warrant Case

SEATTLE (The Seattle Times/TNS) -

As extensively telegraphed by Microsoft, the company’s cast of supporters in its legal fight over a warrant seeking a customer’s emails just got much bigger.

Microsoft was joined by Amazon.com as well as Silicon Valley stalwarts Hewlett-Packard and eBay. Apple, AT&T, Cisco and Verizon, which all supported Microsoft in its lower court case, also weighed in again.

Google, a leader in the cloud-computing realm along with Microsoft and Amazon.com, was among the notable technology companies that haven’t weighed in.

Microsoft in December 2013 was ordered by a federal judge in New York to turn over a user’s emails. Microsoft, finding the emails were stored in its Irish data center, refused, setting off the court case now awaiting a hearing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Microsoft says the order goes beyond the government’s warrant powers. The government counters that existing data-privacy law gives it the power to order Microsoft to turn over the email.

At a media event on Monday, the deadline for outside parties to add their voices to the case, Microsoft touted its growing roster of support.

In the media realm, Microsoft cited the support of the vast majority of the country’s newspapers as well as CNN, Fox News and NPR. Leading business trade groups (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers) and civil-liberties organizations (the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation) are also in.

By Microsoft’s tally, 28 media and technology companies, 23 trade associations and 35 computer scientists signed on to amicus briefs supporting the company’s court case. The count could change if any organizations that hadn’t yet given Microsoft a heads-up filed before the end of the day.