FBI gets access to Google overseas emails
A U.S. judge has ruled that Google must surrender overseas emails to the FBI. Pictured: An FBI agent walks past revelers gathered in Times Square on New Year's Eve in New York, U.S. Dec. 31, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Google will have to comply with FBI search warrants seeking access to customer emails stored on servers located outside the United States, judge Thomas Rueter ruled Friday. The decision diverges from an opposite verdict given in a similar case against Microsoft Corp in July last year.

"Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centers abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States," Rueter wrote in his ruling.

In the ruling, the judge also wrote that there was “no meaningful interference” in the account holder’s “possessory interest” in the data sought in the warrant, Reuters reported Sunday.

Google, though, does not plan to give up the data or the fight to protect it just yet.

“The magistrate in this case departed from precedent, and we plan to appeal the decision. We will continue to push back on overbroad warrants,” the company said in a statement given to Reuters on Sunday.

The decision is in stark contrast to the decision in Microsoft’s case in which a federal judge had ruled that Microsoft and other companies could not be forced to turn over customer emails stored on overseas servers to the FBI.

Both cases are based on warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act, 1986, considered outdated by many technology companies.

The decision also comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Public Safety which denies privacy protections to non-Americans. The order calls for European regulators to cancel an agreement between the European Commission and the U.S. government called the Privacy Shield, which allows U.S. companies to transfer customers’ data across the Atlantic.

If the agreement is cancelled, the European data protection laws could act as a significant trade barrier to American companies operating in Europe.