Microsoft Suing United States Government Due to Data Requests
Microsoft Corp sued the United States government for the right to tell customers when a governmental agency was investigating their emails. This is the latest of a number of clashes over the privacy between the tech industry and the U.S. government.
The lawsuit, which Microsoft filed Thursday in Seattle, says that the U.S. government is violating the Constitution by not allowing Microsoft to notify its thousands of customers about the requests from the government for emails as well as other documents.
The actions of the government contravene our Fourth Amendment, which gives the right for people and for business to know when the government is carrying out searches or seizures of their property. It also argues the right of Microsoft to free speech per the First Amendment.
The Justice Department is reviewing this filing said one of its spokespersons.
The suit by Microsoft focuses on data storage on its remote servers, rather than locally on computers of people, which says Microsoft provided another opening for the federal government to access the electronic data.
Using the ECPA or Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the government has increased its directing of investigations at past parties storing data in the cloud, said Microsoft in its suit.
The law, which is 30 years old, has drawn a great deal of scrutiny from tech companies and advocates for privacy who had said it was written prior to the increase in commercial Internet and therefore is outdated.
This lawsuit represents the latest front in the tech companies’ battle with the U.S. government over to what extent privates companies should give assistance to government surveillance.
Through filing this suit Microsoft is taking a much more prominent roles in this battle, dominated by tech giant Apple in the past few months due to the efforts of the government to get Apple to write new software that would unlock the iPhone one of the San Bernardino shooters used to massacre 14 people.
Apple was back by big tech companies, which included Microsoft and has complained that by cooperating it would turn companies into arms for the state.