Another big tech company is at odds with the U.S. government once again. This time around that company is Microsoft. Today, Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against the US government stating that it’s unconstitutional for the government to demand secrecy when sifting through cloud data.
In the past, the government has demanded to have access to data store by Microsoft clients in the cloud, but has told the company that no information about these cloud data hacks could be public. As such Microsoft could not warn or tell clients that information was seen by government officials. Today, Microsoft wants to put a stop to all of this secrecy.
Microsoft has many large clients and those clients are increasingly storing more and more data in the cloud. As those clients store additional data in the cloud, the government wants access to that extra data. Microsoft has told press that the government has asked for access to client cloud data over the past 18 months more than 2,000 times. That’s a lot of data that the government has been reading and sifting through.
This is not the first scrape that Microsoft has had with the government. In 2013, Microsoft went against the US government during the Edward Snowden case. This caused a lot of problems for Microsoft, and the government doesn’t appear as though it has forgotten. Since Microsoft’s clients tend to be high profile, there’s a lot of interest in some data that is stored in the Microsoft cloud.
One of Microsoft’s biggest arguments is that the company’s clients have a right to know whether or not the government has obtained a warrant to do things like read emails. As it stands, the government can access this personal data and Microsoft cannot tell its clients that the data has been compromised.
This is, of course, not the only tech company current involved in a battle with the US government. Apple was fighting the government on privacy issues concerning a locked iPhone, but the government dropped the case when the iPhone in question was successfully hacked into by FBI agents.
Increasingly, technology companies like Apple and Microsoft are going up against governments where privacy is concerned. These companies believe that clients and people in general have rights that the government is not considering in these cases. Yet the federal laws when it comes to technology are rather loose and not clearly defined. This causes a lot of trouble for both technology companies and for governments trying to obtain data.
While Microsoft admits that sometimes the government is justified in its searches, the company maintains that clients have a right to know when data is read or a warrant is obtained. The case will now go to court. It will likely be a while before a decision is made in this case.
While Apple and Microsoft are leading the pack when it comes to cases against the government, these are not likely to be the only two companies that do argue when it comes to privacy. After all, companies have to protect their clients or lose out on business.