NEW YORK - A federal appeals court has ruled that the government cannot force Microsoft to reveal content from a customer's email account stored in Ireland.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Thursday, overturning a lower court decision.
The appeals court says that Congress did not intend a U.S. law governing warrants to be enforced against a U.S.-based service provider storing contents of a customer's electronic communications on servers outside the United States.
Prosecutors sought the information in December 2013, saying they believed the account in a Dublin facility opened in 2010 was being used to further narcotics trafficking.Dozens of businesses along with news organizations supported Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in the case.
U.S. prosecutors said the U.S. properly followed the law in requesting the information.
According to CBS News justice reporter Paula Reid, "This is an incredibly significant win for tech companies."
She added it was the biggest tech vs. government case before the FBI took on Apple over access to the San Bernardino shooter's phone.