Business Technology

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Dropbox latest tech giant facing Irish court order

Published 05/06/2016 | 02:30

It is understood that Dropbox did not accede to a request for voluntary disclosure
It is understood that Dropbox did not accede to a request for voluntary disclosure

File-hosting service Dropbox is the latest US tech giant facing the prospect of an order from an Irish court to disclose or delete material in its possession.

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Digicel chairman Denis O'Brien has made an application for third-party discovery against the cloud storage firm in connection with his defamation action against PR firm Red Flag.

Dropbox declined to comment on the matter. However, it is understood it did not accede to a request for voluntary disclosure, prompting an application to the High Court seeking discovery of the owner of a Dropbox account.

Next month the High Court will hear the Dropbox application as part of O'Brien's efforts to compel Red Flag to disclose certain information in advance of his defamation action against the firm.

Tech and telco companies are increasingly being asked to co-operate with civil and criminal inquiries.

Microsoft was recently at the centre of a similar dispute after a US court ordered it to give emails held on Irish servers to American prosecutors.

Earlier this year Facebook was asked to remove a page created by supporters of businessman Sean Quinn Snr over allegedly defamatory postings.Facebook resisted, telling the High Court that asking Facebook to remove a page was like seeking an injunction against a brick wall holding up an advertising poster.

Quinn supporters eventually agreed to take the page down after being asked to do so by the businessman.

According to annual transparency reports from online giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, Irish authorities submit hundreds of requests every year, seeking information about account holders.

The requests meet with varying levels of success. For example, in its last transparency report, Google revealed that only 14pc of requests by Irish authorities resulted in some data being given up.

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