Justices seem ready to rule against Microsoft in email case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is signaling it will allow the government to force American technology companies to hand over emails and other digital information sought in criminal probes but stored in the internet cloud outside the U.S.

The justices heard arguments Tuesday in a dispute between the Trump administration and Microsoft Corp. over a warrant for emails that were sought as part of a drug trafficking investigation. Microsoft refused to turn over the emails because they are stored on a company server in Dublin, Ireland, and the warrant does not apply abroad.

But several justices suggested they agreed with the government’s argument that the focus should be on Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. That’s where a computer operator would retrieve the emails and hand them over to federal authorities.