Current Event: Are Privacy Bits Special?

Thursday (7/31/14), Microsoft was ordered by a US federal court to turn over e-mail that’s stored on a Microsoft server in Dublin, Ireland.  The ruling was stayed, pending Microsoft’s appeal.

The implication for Cloud companies based in the US (Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365, Evernote, Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Gmail to name a few biggies) is that anyone’s data across the world who uses these services who’s home office is in the US would immediately be vulnerable to US court order.

Nations can seize assets electronically across borders and they can require an accounting of assets without regard to borders.  Are bits used for e-mail any different from bits used for finance?

How does the usage affect the privacy of the bits or the legality of the governmental oversight into an individual, a group or a company?