Microsoft has called for international agreements to protect consumer privacy and standardize law enforcement's access to evidence, in an announcement that attorneys say, although constructive, raises more questions about how service providers will deal with international data grabs.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data, or CLOUD, Act, passed by Congress in late March, dealt a knockout blow to Microsoft's long-running warrant dispute at the U.S. Supreme Court challenging whether a United States warrant issued under Section 2703 of the Stored Communications Act could be used to access data that it stored on a server located in Ireland.

Under the CLOUD Act, a service provider responding to a Section 2703 order must produce information within its possession regardless of whether such information is located within the U.S. But questions remain about the the language and nature of the law, which attorneys say are addressed, in part, by Microsoft's announcement.

"The principles could be characterized as Microsoft's wish list for the interpretation of the CLOUD Act," Ed McAndrew, a partner at Ballard Spahr and former federal cyber crimes prosecutor told Law360. "This is how they would like to see the CLOUD Act applied.”

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