Microsoft is battling against U.S. government search warrants that would require the company to hand over customer data housed in overseas servers. One of the largest email providers, Microsoft is declaring it will not hand over personal data of its users, arguing the request is in violation of the Constitution and not justifiable by law.

The case comes after a New York court last December ordered Microsoft to hand over emails and communications it had stored at its Ireland server in order to assist in an international drug-trafficking investigation being conducted by the US government. But Microsoft is arguing that an entire hand over of information would infringe upon users' rights.

In a number of reports, Microsoft is arguing that if it were to hand over data it would set a precedent that the government can reach beyond borders and grab personal information of private foreign individuals and businesses, which would result in the international community leaving Microsoft's email service for other providers.

Many are viewing the warrants as part of an overall government effort to continue to track and store data on individuals under the guise of what is allegedly a drug-trafficking investigation. Microsoft remains defiant, saying that it would not simply hand over all email information of its users from its data center in Ireland, even though the warrant forces them to do so.

Last December, a New York judge issued the search warrant, but it also puts pressure on the government and authorities to specify what and who exactly they are looking for in the investigation. By handing over all data from its Ireland center, Microsoft could potentially compromise the privacy of millions of users who have no connections with a drug-trafficking investigation.

Many tech companies are battling against government surveillance after whistleblower Edward Snowden last year revealed a massive and widespread spying project by the National Security Agency that has left much of the general population wary of government intrusion into personal emails.

"If the government's position prevails, it would have huge detrimental impacts on American cloud companies that do business abroad,'' said Michael Vatis, a lawyer who co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief for Verizon, which operates data centers overseas and which filed a brief Tuesday in support of Microsoft.

While the battle is unlikely to end in the near future, Microsoft and other observers believe that by fighting against government intrusion and forced surveillance, it can show the world that there are companies out there who are fighting against the what many perceive to be unnecessary oversight of personal and private communications between average citizens who have nothing to do with specific investigations.

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