Opinion: Microsoft argued that the law allowing the government to confiscate computer data on third-party computers and barring companies from telling contacts that they are targets for investigation against the constitution. That made sense. Read the full report here:
Microsoft vs Government Law
WASHINGTON — Technology, media, pharmaceutical and other companies, along with major corporate lobbying groups, filed legal briefs on Friday in support of a Microsoft Corp lawsuit that aims to strike down a law preventing companies from telling customers the government is seeking their data.
Friday was the deadline for filing of friend-of-the-court briefs by nonparticipants in the case. The filings show broad support for Microsoft and the technology industry in its latest high-profile clash with the U.S. Justice Department over digital privacy and surveillance.
Microsoft’s backers included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Delta Air Lines Inc , Eli Lilly and Co, BP America, the Washington Post, Fox News, the National Newspaper Association, Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Amazon.com Inc, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and many others.
Microsoft filed its lawsuit in Seattle federal court in April, arguing that a law allowing the government to seize computer data located on third-party computers and often barring companies from telling their customers that they are targets is unconstitutional.
The Justice Department argues that Microsoft has no standing to bring the case and the public has a “compelling interest in keeping criminal investigations confidential.” Procedural safeguards also protect constitutional rights, it contends. A Justice Department spokesman declined comment on Friday’s filings.
Microsoft says the government is violating the Fourth Amendment, which establishes the right for people and businesses to know if the government searches or seizes their property, in addition to Microsoft’s First Amendment right to free speech.