Microsoft sues US government over hush-hush data requests


2016 is proving to be the year of privacy debates between the tech world and the US government. In the latest clash, Microsoft has sued the US Government over the right to tell its users when federal agencies request access to private data.

Reuters reports that Microsoft has opened a suit against the policy of secret government data requests. The Redmond-based company alleges that Washington is violating the U.S. Constitution by preventing it from customers of government requests for emails and other documents stored on its remote servers.

In the suit, Microsoft claims it has received 5,624 demands for customer information over the past 18 months. Of those requests, 2,576 supposedly came an attached gag order preventing the company from informing customers of the government seized data.

What's more, Microsoft also says 1,752 orders came without a time limit, preventing it from ever telling customers that the government obtained their digital files.

Legal document argues that the governments breaches US citizen's fourth amendment rights to know if the government searches or seizes their property.

"People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud," Microsoft wrote in the lawsuit. "[The government] has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations."

This is the latest legal battle between the government and the tech world over digital civil liberties. Earlier this year the issue was first sparked by a FBI vs Apple case, revolving around the data locked in an encrypted iPhone 5C formally owned by shooters involved in the San Bernardino, California shooting massacre last December.


Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.