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Microsoft Ordered to Release Overseas Email Data to Federal Investigators

Thu, 07/31/2014

In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain Email Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corporation: In a controversial case that is sure to rise on appeal to higher courts, the Southern District Court of New York ruled that Microsoft has to open its overseas servers to federal agents in order to allow them access to email accounts. The government’s use of a SCA warrant to obtain data that is outside of US territory is unprecedented and is predicted to have extraordinarily negative effects on international business relations because of foreign concerns of citizen privacy and American NSA spying.


The Southern District Court of New York ruled in favor of the US government, establishing that the warrant is acting more like a subpoena and therefore the SCA limitations do not apply. The court, in its opinion, relied on the reasoning that the data being demanded can be considered “business records” not personal data and is thus obtainable even though it is not stored on US Territory. Microsoft has issued for an appeal.

Read the full opinion here

Cyberbullying Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Tue, 07/01/2014

People v. Marquan: After being convicted of cyberbullying, Marquan appealed his sentence to the New York Court of Appeals on the basis that New York’s cyberbullying law violates his 1st Amendment Rights. The cyberbullying law defines bullying as “any act of communicating or causing a communication to be sent by mechanical or electronic means … disseminating private, personal, false or sexual information, or sending hate mail, with no legitimate private, personal, or public purpose, with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, abuse, taunt, intimidate, torment, humiliate, or otherwise inflict significant emotional harm on another person" (id. § 2).


The New York Court of Appeals ruled that the State’s cyber bulling law does violate the 1st Amendment because of how extremely broad the law's text is. The court believes that the law can be used or interpreted in an abusive manner that could violate an individual’s constitutional rights and thus the law is void.

Read the full decision here

Free the Soda! Ban Struck Down

Mon, 06/23/2014

New York Statewide Coalition, et al. v New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: A 2012 New York City enacted the Portions Cap Rule, a ban on soda products that limited their retail size to 16-ounces. A number of associations filed suit against the state on the grounds that the New York City's Board of Health had acted as a legislative body by participating in policy making, thus overstepping its powers of simply imposing health regulations concerned with safety or sanitation.


In a 4-2 decision, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Portions Cap Rule is an abuse of the Board of Health's power and is therefore void.

Read the full decision here

Town Not Allowed to Cancel Excessive Program Independently

Thu, 06/05/2014

Town of Islip v. State public Employment Relations Board: The Town issued permanent “take home” vehicles to certain employees. The vehicles were owned by the town but assigned. The Town decided to cancel this program and discontinued the vehicle assignment. The Board sued the Town based on a complaint by a union on the grounds that since employees depended on the vehicles for personal use, the cancelation of them should have been negotiated versus mandated.


The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the complaints of the Board and ruled in favor of the Board and the union. The Court found that the town acted unjustly in cancelling the vehicles, even though they were property of the town, without working to negotiate it with the employees.

Read the full decision here