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Microsoft sues authorities over customers' privacy

More companies seem to be joying the battle over privacy. So, it has been revealed that Microsoft has decided to make quite an interesting move and the tech company has taken the US Justice Department to court over secret customer data searches.

The lawsuit was filed this week and it seems that what Microsoft is arguing is that the Justice Department should not have the authority to secretly access customer information.

What Microsoft seems to want is to be able to inform its customers when US authorities are looking at their personal data.

Furthermore, the lawsuit filed in federal court indicates that the US government is actually violating the constitution by preventing the tech company from sending some notifications to customers, whose data is being accessed by the government.

Microsoft says in its lawsuits that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which precisely says that people have the right to know if the government is making searches on their property.

Furthermore, the legal proceedings said that the actions were also violating Microsoft's right to free speech, established in the First Amendment as presented by USNEWS:
People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud," the lawsuit said, adding that the government "has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations."
In its lawsuit, Microsoft revealed that it actually received 5,614 federal demands for customer information only in the last 18 months.

The company also said that about half of these demands, 2,576, came with gag orders, which means that Microsoft was unable to notify its customers that authorities were checking their data.

Microsoft also explained that many of the orders had no time limit, which means that it might never be able to tell customers that their data has been checked by the government.

According to the lawsuit, the government "seeks and executes warrants for electronic communications far more frequently than it sought and executed warrants for physical documents and communications apparently because it believes it can search and seize those documents and communications under a veil of secrecy."

The Department of Justice has not responded on the filing and was reportedly reviewing the lawsuit. Of course, Microsoft is not the only tech company which has decided to fight against authorities and their request for access to data. The new lawsuit comes after a very high profile case involving famous company Apple.

Apple opposed a request from the FBI to unlock an encrypted iPhone that belonged to one of the attackers at San Bernardino, California.

Despite the pressure, Apple fought authorities, which finally found a third party to ensure their access to data. Google, Facebook and Yahoo have also claimed that authorities have often demanded access to customer information.

On the other hand, authorities have claimed that if targets are notified that their data is investigated, they might change their communications which could turn out to affect investigations. So, this is the latest battle between tech companies and authorities over access to data. How the suit will end, it is yet to see.
Microsoft sues authorities over customers' privacy Reviewed by Mike Beasley on 4/17/2016 02:17:00 PM Rating: 5

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