Tech Giants Support Microsoft's Gag Order Lawsuit

Five months after filing a gag order lawsuit against the US government, Microsoft won over some notable supporters to its cause. Namely, Google, Apple, Mozilla, and several other tech giants have recently signed an amicus curiae brief and put themselves at the disposal of the court in order to help Microsoft fight the government's tendency to issue suppression orders. Microsoft is adamant at stopping the government from demanding digital records of its customers in secrecy and is claiming that the government's gagging orders are violating the Fourth Amendment according to which people have the right to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

This spring, Microsoft's chief legal officer Brad Smith claimed that out of over 2,500 demands for user data sent to Microsoft by various government agencies in an 18-month period, over 1,700 didn't have an end date. In other words, more than two third of them had an indefinite gag order tied to them and Microsoft was prevented to even inform its customers that the government has obtained their digital data. This is Redmond's main proof that the government is violating the Fourth Amendment.

Apart from the aforementioned tech giants, Microsoft's gag orders fight against Washington was also recently praised and supported by the media including the Washington Post and Fox News, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Last but not least, even five former FBI and justice department officials have explicitly expressed support towards Redmond's lawsuit against the US government. Smith is not only happy but also amused by the colorful cast of entities which decided to support his company's lawsuit as he recently stated that seeing ACLU and Fox News on the same side is a truly rare sight.

All in all, if Microsoft ends up winning the case, the company will do a huge favor to numerous other tech giants who have been fighting gag orders for years on a smaller scale. Google's transparency reports from last year specifically state that a lot of the suppression orders the company received from the government don't make sense and explicitly voice the tech giant's intent to fight them.

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About the Author

Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]