United States v. Microsoft

January 18, 2018

The Reporters Committee and 40 media organizations submitted an amici brief in support of Microsoft in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court addressing whether the government can use a search warrant to obtain data stored by Microsoft overseas. The brief urges the Court to consider how its ruling in this case could impact journalists, emphasizing that cloud-based products and email are critical to journalists and that effective newsgathering relies on the security of these tools. The brief also argues that allowing the U.S. government to use a warrant to obtain data stored anywhere in the world could embolden countries that are hostile toward the news media to demand access to electronic information belonging to journalists. Finally, the brief points out that a legal issue in the case -- whether warrants for electronic data can be treated akin to subpoenas in their execution -- could have implications for other laws and policies that protect journalists from overreaching government surveillance.