Microsoft has brought a lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) over privacy concerns involving Microsoft’s users. The lawsuit, filed yesterday, insists that consumers have a right to know when the government requests to read their emails and Microsoft should have the right to inform users when the government is doing so. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act currently holds companies back from telling users when the government has a warrant for their data if they deem it could hinder their investigation. Microsoft believes the governments reasons for not allowing them to inform the user doesn’t hold water.
But Microsoft contends that this “reason to believe” standard is flimsy, as that belief need not be “grounded in the facts of the particular investigation, and the statute contains no limit on the length of time such secrecy orders may be kept in place.” “People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud,” states the complaint.
“Over the past 18 months, federal courts have issued nearly 2,600 secrecy orders silencing Microsoft from speaking about warrants and other legal process seeking Microsoft customers’ data,” reads the complaint, which notes that two-thirds of these orders have no fixed end date. “These twin developments — the increase in government demands for online data and the simultaneous increase in secrecy — have combined to undermine confidence in the privacy of the cloud and have impaired Microsoft’s right to be transparent with its customers.”
Technology companies seem to have had enough of the government’s prying eyes and demand for users data. Tim Cook fought the FBI case which was quickly dropped after the government hired grey hat hackers to break into the iPhone in question. Privacy concerns have everyone on edge in this next evolution of the digital age and consumers might be square in the middle of a battle between Silicon Valley and the government.
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