Microsoft sues over gagging orders

$(KGrHqUOKogE0fw1dGKKBNbl-bOPG!~~_3Microsoft is suing the US Justice Department to stop it from informing customers when the government keep Microsoft and other tech companies from telling their customers when investigators seek access to emails and other cloud data.

The case in the US District Court in Seattle, targets Section 2705(b) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which allows the government to seek and obtain secrecy orders preventing companies from letting their customers know when their data is the target of a federal warrant, subpoena or court order.

Vole said in its complaint, “This statute violates both the Fourth Amendment, which affords people and businesses the right to know if the government searches or seizes their property, and the First Amendment, which enshrines Microsoft’s rights to talk to its customers and to discuss how the government conducts its investigations—subject only to restraints narrowly tailored to serve compelling government interests.”

It moans that people do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud and asks the Court to declare that Section 2705(b) is unconstitutional .

Microsoft says in the suit that federal courts have issued nearly 2,600 secrecy orders to the company over the past 18 months, and more than two-thirds of those orders didn’t have a defined ending date.

The suit is the latest battle between the Redmond and the U.S. government over issues of consumer privacy and cloud services. Microsoft and the government are already fighting an ongoing legal case over the government’s attempt to access a customer’s data stored on a server in Ireland.