Microsoft said Monday it will soon drop a lawsuit challenging the government's practice of indefinitely barring internet service providers from telling users about data warrants after the U.S. Department of Justice instituted a policy change to limit such gag orders, a move that attorneys say demonstrates the growing influence tech companies have on law enforcement's data-gathering efforts.
A Washington state federal judge cleared the way Thursday for Microsoft to proceed with its claims that the government's practice of barring internet service providers from informing customers of warrants for their data violates the First Amendment, but struck down its bid to bring Fourth Amendment claims on behalf of its users.
Microsoft on Sunday continued its push in Washington federal court to assert Fourth Amendment violation claims on behalf of its customers, who it says otherwise have no practical means of challenging U.S. government gag orders that prevent service providers from informing customers of user data warrants.
A Washington federal judge on Thursday told Microsoft and the U.S. government to be prepared to defend their positions on whether companies can assert Fourth Amendment claims on behalf of their customers, in a dispute over gag orders preventing service providers from informing customers of warrants for user data.
The federal government continued to rally against Microsoft's bid to lift restrictions on the company's ability to tell customers about law enforcement demands to access their data, arguing Friday that such gag orders are narrowly tailored and that the service provider was relying on "hypothetical" situations that harmed no one.
Microsoft on Friday received a groundswell of support from the tech, media, privacy and law enforcement communities in its fight against gag orders that prevent service providers from telling customers about law enforcement demands for user data, with stakeholders including Google, Apple, The Associated Press and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce chiming in.
Microsoft shot back at the government's attempt to dismiss its suit challenging gag orders that prevent service providers from telling customers about law enforcement demands for user data Friday, saying people have the right to know when the government searches for and seizes their private papers even when those papers are digital and in the cloud.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday shot back at the government's attempt to get rid of Microsoft's challenge to gag orders that prevent service providers from telling customers about law enforcement demands for user data, arguing that the stance that consumers shouldn't be notified "makes no constitutional sense."
The U.S. government on Friday shot back at Microsoft's bid to block gag orders that prevent service providers from telling customers about law enforcement demands for user data, telling a Washington state federal court that the company's failure to single out a specific demand doomed its "extraordinary" challenge.
The privacy legal landscape shows no signs of cooling off this year, with the continued fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Spokeo ruling, disputes over the Federal Trade Commission's data security authority and the validity of the new trans-Atlantic data transfer Privacy Shield likely to dominate the headlines. Here, attorneys flag some of the top privacy cases and disputes they'll be keeping their eye on in the second half of 2016.