US Justice Department faces lawsuit filed by Microsoft Corp over data requests
Apr 15, 2016 12:10 PM EDT
A legal battle has started between Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) and the United States Justice Department over data requests. The tech giant is seeking the right to tell its customers whenever a federal agency is investigating their emails.
According to Reuters, the clash of privacy battle between technology companies and Washington now includes Microsoft Corp. The lawsuit filed on Thursday argues that there is a violation of US Constitution by preventing Microsoft from notifying thousands of customers regarding government requests for their emails and other documents. The government-proposed action is illegal under the Fourth Amendment, which establishes that a person and other businesses should know if the government searches or seizes their property. Also, it violates Microsoft Corp's First Amendment which is the right to free speech.
In the lawsuit, Microsoft said "People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud." Further, the government "has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations."
The case is the latest to the surveillance battle between government and tech companies as reported in Yahoo. By filing the lawsuit, Microsoft is taking a prominent role in the battle of Apple Inc with the federal government in the recent months due to their requests in unlocking an iPhone used in a crime. Apple, backed by technology companies, argued that cooperating with the federal government in major crimes would turn the associated businesses into arms of the state.
ABC News wrote that a Justice Department spokesperson said they are on the process of reviewing the case. The case filed by Microsoft adds that they are concerned about the practice of ramification of the Justice Department as more business and individuals have stored sensitive information and other documents via cloud computing.
The tech company, however, said there is an opportunity for the Justice Department to adopt a new policy that establishes reasonable limitations on the type of secrecy orders it uses. They said that lawmakers in Capitol Hill should be able to pass a legislation that would protect people's rights and still provide flexibility for law enforcement.