It’s not just the NSA that’s collecting massive amounts of personal data with judicial approval. In a ruling publicized by EarthRights International, a federal judge in New York approved a subpoena by Chevron to obtain any documents Microsoft has related to the identity of 30 anonymous individuals allegedly of interest in the litigation, including every IP address over a period of nine years.
The case involves an $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron in an Ecuador court, for massive environmental contamination from oil drilling. The Ecuadorian court found that Chevron had dumped toxic waste into Amazon waterways used by indigenous groups for drinking water and caused massive harm to the rainforest. Chevron responded by filing a lawsuit in U.S. court alleging that the plaintiffs engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the company.
As part of this lawsuit, Chevron has subpoenaed Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to request all information related to the email addresses of more than 100 advocates, journalists, lawyers, and others. These individuals are not parties to the suit, but Chevron alleges that they are involved directly or indirectly in the litigation, and may have been outspoken critics of Chevron’s conduct. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan explains the scope of what Chevron was seeking from Microsoft:
To summarize, if Microsoft still has and were to produce the requested information, Chevron would learn the IP address associated with every login for every account over a nine-year period. Chevron could identify the countries, states, or even cities where the users logged into accounts, and perhaps, in some instances, could determine the actual building addresses.