On Feb. 27, we went to the U.S Supreme Court to argue a case that has become known as the “Microsoft warrant case.” As we arrived at court that morning, we thought it was important to repeat a point we’ve been making since we first filed our legal challenge more than four years ago. We said that while litigation was important, we needed new legislation and new international agreements to reform the process by which law enforcement officials around the world gather digital evidence and investigate crimes. And we said international agreements must have strong protections for privacy and other human rights.

As we headed to the Supreme Court, there was one point which the Department of Justice, Microsoft, most state attorneys general and the vast majority of the tech sector all agreed: it was time for Congress to act. Last month, Congress did just that, passing the CLOUD Act as part of the omnibus budget bill the president signed into law on March 23.

Although the CLOUD Act resulted from successive drafts over several years, its passage surprised many. And the speed with which it happened was a bit of a shock, especially in an era when potential compromises in Washington, D.C. more commonly result in failure and disappointment than new policy or law. As the company that brought the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court and has spent perhaps more time on this issue than any other, we wanted to take the time to offer what is admittedly a long blog to share our perspective about the CLOUD Act and what it means for the future.

Most importantly, the passage of the CLOUD Act is an important milestone in the journey to modernize the law, enable enforcement officials to do their jobs and protect people’s privacy rights across borders. It has strong and broad support. But it’s not the end of the road. There remains important and urgent work ahead of us.

The CLOUD Act both creates the foundation for a new generation of international agreements and preserves rights of cloud service providers like Microsoft to protect privacy rights until such agreements are in place. Each of these aspects is critical. And it points to the importance of first putting the CLOUD Act in its proper context...


Read more: The CLOUD Act is an important step forward, but now more steps need to follow - Microsoft on the Issues