If I own a car located in Sweden, and I'm a US citizen in the US, arrested in the US... can the court compel me to make arrangements to produce for the court something in that car's glove box? I don't actually know...could one? Its not entirely unreasonable to speculate that they could make that demand and then hold me in contempt if I refused to make that arrangement.
Depends on what is the car's glove box.
- If it's something that Sweden doesn't give a damn about (some trivial object), well you could produce it for the court, and the court might be unhappy if you refuse to produce it and actively make obstruction (if the court offer to send a swedish cop to retrieve the object and you refuse to give the key your are kindly asked to provide them, you're the problem)
- If it's something that is illegal to export out of the country according to Swedish or EU law (weapon, endangered specie, nuclear fuel, etc.), then you CANNOT LEGALLY produce it to the court. What the court is asking you is illegal in Sweden. If you do it anyway, you're going to have big problems with a Swedish court.
According to you, it is also the legal property of Microsoft US. They don't need to compel the Irish to do anything. They can (arguably) simply compel the US entity in their jurisdiction to summon its own property.
Sorry, no. They can't. It's not legal in EU countries (and a few other europeans countries) to move private data around without consent.
Microsoft US cannot summon data in Ireland, without the explicit consent of the data owner. If they move the data anyway, they can be sued in Ireland for it.
While in a foreign country, you cannot commit a crime (under that country's law), even if it's your home country asking for you.
(Otherwise, spying would be entirely legal: because it was done on the order of the spy's home country).
It is also subject to the orders of its owner, what with it being property and all. So as long a Microsoft US doesn't demand that it do something illegal by Irish law, it has to do whatever Microsoft US tells it to do.
But moving private data around without the owner's consent *IS* illegal in most EU and other european countries.
What the US court asks *IS* illegal in Ireland.
and the US court HAS NO power in Ireland. They are giving orders out of their jurisdiction.
If so, this boils down to can a court compel a property owner to direct his property to do something (such as forward a document in that properties possession), even if the property happens to be in another country? (one could also substitute "property" for "slave" in that sentence... and
When looked at like that, its not really ridiculous at all.
Except forwarding that document is absolutely illegal in Ireland.
It works better if you substitute "slave" in that sentence: What if there is no slavery in that country ?! What if all humans are considered free?
This is not a case of a court making demands directly of an Irish citizen; which is the possible strawman you erected.
No, but the data happens to be in Ireland, not in the US. Irish and EU law apply there. Nobody gives a damn shit about US there. Exporting the data IS illegal.
Again let's change the details. Let's take some Extremist / totalitarian government. The goverment asks one of its citizen to assassinate a target (that etremist / totalitarian regime has law that make this request legally binding and mandatory). The citizen then travels to US, and shoots the target: an innocent US citizen - who happen to have angered the government with some publication.
Is the assissnation legal, even if it was ordered according to the law of the extremist government? No, because that government has no jurisdiction in the US. In the US, US-law apply, and you are not allowed to shoot random inocent people, just because some other random dude accross the globe gave you an order.
Same situation here. Data is Ireland. Irish and EU law does apply. Law says that it's illegal to export data without owner's consent. Microsoft can't give it to US, even if US courts orders to.
This is the case of a court making demands of a US corporation. The nature of that demand is that the US corporation in turn compel its own property in Ireland to do its bidding.
It might seem equivalent in the end, but they are NOT the same thing. For example there is no way the courts in the USA can compel ME to do anything because I am not in the USA, nor am I the legal property of any entity in the USA.
And juste like you're out of US' jurisdiction, so is the data in Ireland, according to local laws.