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U.S. Department of Justice Continues Data Privacy War with Microsoft

The long running dispute between Microsoft and the Department of Justice continues. The U.S. Government says it has legal right to check customer emails and data without informing them.


Microsoft’s legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice is rumbling on. The Department of Justice has filed an official response to Microsoft’s filing arguing that customers should know when emails are red.

In response U.S. Department of Justice disagree and claims there is no basis in law for customers to be informed when emails are being investigated and intercepted. Microsoft says the opposite, saying customers need to know when their data is being taken. In a filing last week, the government has asked the federal judge to throw out Microsoft’s case.

The U.S. government points out that the law is on its side. Federal law allows them to peek into customer emails and other data without informing them. The Department of Justice also says that if it does inform customers then the whole investigation may be compromised.

“Microsoft’s challenge effectively asks this court to adjudicate the lawfulness of thousands of such court orders from across the U.S., without regard to the basis for, and terms of, those orders, which necessarily vary from case to case,” the Justice Department said in Friday’s court filing.

Industry Support

Microsoft has been backed up by the tech industry in general. Certainly, giants like Apple and Google have had similar problems and have fought the government over privacy concerns. Most companies, especially those with cloud services, are concerned about government snooping into personal data.

The U.S. Government has recently lost a case against Microsoft where the courts ruled the company was right to deny access to data. The company was sued after refusing to give details of the San Bernardino terrorist because the data was held in Ireland.

A new ruling says that the US Government has no jurisdiction over companies in other countries. Microsoft and the Irish government have said the US can go through proper channels and get the data it requires.

Whether Microsoft will prevail in its overall battle still remains to be seen. The government is pushing that the law is on its side  and the case is likely to continue for years.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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