The ruling could have serious implications for the privacy of non-US citizens.
According to a report from UK publication The Independent, “Google must comply with FBI search warrants for Gmail messages stored outside the US, if the requests are issued as part of a domestic fraud investigation.”
“Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centres abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States,” Philadelphia magistrate judge Thomas Rueter was quoted as saying.
A similar case last year involving Microsoft had the opposite outcome and Google plans to appeal the ruling.
“The magistrate in this case departed from precedent, and we plan to appeal the decision,” a Google spokesperson told The Independent. “We will continue to push back on overbroad warrants.”