Microsoft defies US Government by battling search warrant, held in contempt of court

By respecting the law and following the rules, you should live a relatively calm life. However, not all laws and rules are just, as Microsoft is currently finding out.

Microsoft is being held in contempt of court after failing to comply with a warrant, following a rejection of a request for appeal on 31 July.

If you aren't familiar with the story so far, the US Government has been trying to compel Microsoft to hand over user data that is held offshore.

"Microsoft believes you own your email no matter where it is stored. That's why we've gone to court to ask the US government to follow long-established, internationally agreed upon processes to obtain email it is seeking as evidence in a case involving a customer account in Ireland", countered Microsoft.

Read more: US court orders Microsoft to surrender overseas data

The company further explains, "a district judge in New York today issued an order clearing the way for Microsoft to pursue its case against the US government on appeal. The government has demanded that Microsoft turn over customer emails held in its data center in Dublin, Ireland.

"While the order today holds the company in contempt for not complying with the court's previous ruling to turn over the emails in question, it does not impose any sanctions while the case proceeds to the appellate court, as agreed to by the parties".

Microsoft being held in contempt is mostly bureaucratic symbolism. In other words, Satya Nadella is not being thrown into a jail cell and there is no Law and Order-like drama.

Instead, Microsoft is simply being given some breathing room and the ability to appeal. Still, Microsoft deserves applause for protecting its users. While some may claim Microsoft is only doing this to counteract the negative press it got from the Snowden-fueled NSA scandal, and maybe it is, the motive is inconsequential. The end result will hopefully carry the most weight.

You can read the full contempt order here (PDF).