A federal law that protects the privacy of emails and other electronic communications extends to foreign nationals, the 9th Circuit ruled Monday, allowing Microsoft to protect the emails of an Indian citizen accused of fraud in Australia, according to courthousenews.com.
Indian wind-power company Suzlon Energy wants Microsoft to hand over emails from the Hotmail account of Rajagopalan Sridhar, whom Suzlon is suing for civil fraud in Australia. The energy company has accused Sridhar, who is currently in prison, of diverting profits, transferring company funds to Swiss bank accounts and other financial malfeasance.
A Seattle federal judge initially granted Suzlon’s request but then changed its tune after Microsoft filed a motion to quash. U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman eventually agreed with Microsoft that Sridhar’s email account is protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), even though he is foreign citizen.
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