We have been hearing for years now that the US government has the right to subpoena data on public servers. This is a right they have exercised repeatedly to gain information against criminal suspects. The lines are getting foggier, because these US companies are hosting servers and disk storage overseas and the government is insisting that they divulge the requested information regardless of where it is stored. Microsoft is currently fighting a court order for them to divulge information stored on servers in Dublin, Ireland.
This is occurring frequently enough that some of the larger vendors like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have decided to begin to notify customers when the government is requesting their information. This is creating friction between federal law enforcement and these businesses because they request secrecy and up until recently it has been granted.
This in itself is interesting, but the results of this policy may be the real reason these large US based tech companies are pushing back. Reports are that as a result of this policy many overseas based companies are choosing not to use the services of US hosting and tech companies. They don’t want to take the risk of having their private data compromised or business disrupted due to legal action. This policy could well be costing Microsoft, Google, Apple and others like them in a big way. There is no way to measure just how real this concern is. A good question to consider when looking at cloud hosting – Does cloud hosting reduce the level of privacy your company might have? Is big brother overreaching his bounds?