There has been an ongoing battle between tech companies and the government for obtaining user data stored on overseas servers. In January this year, the Federal Appeals Court ruled that the government cannot force Microsoft to turn over data it stored on servers overseas; however, contradicting that ruling, a U.S. judge, in February, ordered Google to give access to user data.

As the judiciary is torn between whether or not the user data should be made public, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary —Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism— is slated to hold a hearing on “Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Across Borders: Facilitating Cooperation and Protecting Rights,” soon, which will explore options to access data stored across borders.

Read: Personal Data Protection: Consumers Don't Trust Companies To Guard Their Privacy, Survey Indicates

Judge Susan Carney, who ruled in favor of Microsoft in January, said: “It is overdue for a congressional revision that would continue to protect privacy but would more effectively balance concerns of international comity with law enforcement needs and service provider obligations in the global context in which this case arose.”

If the senate expands the ambit of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) to cover searches outside the U.S. instead of handling it through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), tech companies such as Google and Microsoft will be obligated to hand over information, which they have stored in overseas servers. Simply put, a U.S. warrant might apply on the data stored on a foreign server.

This could determine the future of data privacy. Currently, tech companies route user data and emails through countries such as Ireland and urge that if the government needs the information, they must coordinate with the local authorities of where the servers are located.

This means that the National Security Agency’s illegal surveillance and collection of data, as exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013, could have a legal mandate. CIA and NSA would no longer need to use hacking tools as your information will be easily available to them.

What is still not clear is — which emails and data would the government be made privy too? Assuming the senate rules in favor of providing the government access to overseas servers, would the government be able to access all emails on these servers, including those that belong to foreign nationals?

The concerns at stake are not just privacy, but even the future of the internet, respect of borders and public safety. The internet has so far had the perception of a free platform, which provides people the right to share or keep private the information that they want. However, things may change in the time to come. All this comes at a time when the Federal Communications Commission has already given internet service providers the right to sell user data.

Read: Former NSA Chief Defends WannaCry-Style Government-Owned Hacking Tools

The issue of federal agencies snooping in on foreign nationals has already raised the ire of countries such as Germany.

Most importantly, it is not as if the government doesn’t falter with regard to data. The recent WannaCry ransomware attack, the biggest till date, targeting around 150 countries and 75,000 systems originated in leaked NSA tools.

The future of data privacy is gradually being chalked out by the senate, and now consumers and tech companies will have to wait and watch for what it has in reserve for them.