Microsoft sues for right to tell customers when US government requests emails

Microsoft sued the US government on Thursday for the right to tell customers when authorities search their email inboxes.In a federal complaint that names the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, the company argues the government has taken advantage of the consumer trend for storing their private data on tech companies’ servers, rather than storing it on their own devices. This shouldn’t let the government search the digital equivalent of a person’s desk without telling them, Microsoft argues. sues US government over secret data requests
Microsoft is suing the US government over the right to tell its users when federal agencies want access to private data.It says keeping access requests secret is against the US constitution, which states that individuals should be made aware if the government searches or seizes their property.Microsoft said 5,624 requests for data were made in the past 18 months, and almost half came with a court order forcing the company to keep the demand secret.”People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud,” Microsoft said in the lawsuit, according to the Reuters news agency. Sues Justice Department to Protest Electronic Gag Order Statute
Big technology companies have usually played a defensive game with government prosecutors in their legal fight over customer information, fighting or bowing to requests for information one case at a time.But now, in a move that could broaden the debate over the balance between customer privacy and law enforcement needs, Microsoft is going on the offense. sues over law banning tech firms from telling customers about data requests
Microsoft wants a federal judge in Seattle to strike down a law that allows courts to prohibit a tech company from telling customers that the government has sought their data.In a civil suit filed Thursday against the Justice Department, the tech giant revealed that, in the past 18 months alone, federal courts have issued almost 2,600 orders preventing Microsoft from alerting customers that their data has been obtained in criminal probes.Notably, more than two-thirds — about 1,750 orders — had no fixed end date.

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