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Microsoft Sues DOJ Over Gag Orders


Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the US government this week over the practice of "gag orders" that don't allow companies to notify customers when the government has requested access to customer data. This practice violates customers' Fourth Amendment rights and Microsoft's First Amendment rights, the suit says. It seeks the right to notify the individuals whose information is being sought, writes Reuters.

In the last year and a half, Microsoft's received 5,624 legal orders under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the company writes in its complaint. Of those, nearly half didn't allow Microsoft to disclose the government's search for information.

The government “has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations,” Microsoft says.

Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith told Reutersthat just as Microsoft stood with Apple in its legal fight (about the FBI's request that Apple help unlock the San Bernadino shooter's iPhone), "we expect other tech companies to stand with us."  [Reuters]