Even though Microsoft is a U.S. corporation subject to domestic subpoenas and warrants, prosecutors are not entitled to emails stored on its servers abroad, the Second Circuit ruled last week in Microsoft Corp. v. United States. In a majority opinion by Judge Carney, the Court held that warrants under the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) are limited to emails stored on domestic servers. Notably, in a concurring opinion, Judge Lynch urged Congress to reassess the SCA for the purpose of balancing privacy and foreign policy interests against contemporary law enforcement needs.
Amended in December alongside many other rules in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 34(b)(2)(B) now requires that objections to document requests be stated with “specificity.” The early applications of the amended rule demonstrate that boilerplate objections will not stand, but courts have yet to answer more nuanced questions regarding the level of specificity the amended rule requires.
Amended Rule 34(b)(2)(B) reads in pertinent part: “For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state with specificity the grounds for objecting to the request, including the reasons.” (By contrast, the old rule required only that a party “state an objection to the request.”)