Microsoft is the latest tech company to pick a legal fight with the U.S. government as they have sued the U.S. government over ‘unconstitutional’ data searches.
First filed on Thursday in a federal court in Seattle, Microsoft claims that it is ‘unconstitutional’ to force the company to remain silent and not inform customers when their cloud data has been searched or inspected by authorities. Microsoft further states that the government’s actions are in direct opposition to the Fourth Amendment which establishes the right for people and businesses to know if the the government searches or seizes their property, as well as Microsoft’s First Amendment right to free speech.
The core focus of this lawsuit is Section 2705(b) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Microsoft claims that the ECPA can be interpreted ‘very broadly’ and gives the government too much power in forcing companies to stay silent as it pursues investigations and alleged criminal activity. Because of broad interpretations that can be made due to the ECPA, Microsoft wants the court to “declare that Section 2705(b) is unconstitution on its face.”
Since filling the lawsuit, Microsoft hopes that others in the tech industry would stand behind them in their lawsuit against the U.S. government. “Just as Apple was the company in the last case and we stood with Apple, we expect other tech companies to stand with us,” says Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.