US threat to British online privacy

David Barrett and Philip Sherwell report in the Daily Telegraph on a privacy threat to UK Citizens, businesses and even Government information.

It follows a court ruling by a New York judge that Microsoft must hand over to US prosecutors the emails of a European customer stored on its servers in Ireland, as part of a drugs trafficking investigation; however, to do so could break Irish and EU data protection laws.  Microsoft is fighting the case, but Professor Ian Walden, of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University London, believes they will lose. If so Professor Walden believes that it presents a huge privacy risk for British companies and British individuals:

“If the federal government is victorious it will raise the threat that if you come to the attention of the US authorities whether directly or indirectly your information may be accessible if it’s stored with American providers. There’s also the concerns about industrial espionage that have always been there.”

Worryingly, even people who never use the internet could be affected, as companies and UK government departments use the services of American-owned companies to hold information about people.