Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Microsoft drops its lawsuit over gag orders on DoJ searches

A new policy limits data requests that prevent companies from telling customers.
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

AOL

It's been more than a year since Microsoft sued the government (with backing from Amazon, Apple, Google and many others) over the right to tell its customers when the authorities ask it to hand over data, and now the DoJ has responded with a new policy. Microsoft says that the new rules restrict the use of secrecy orders and it says they should have defined time periods. With those conditions applied, President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said Microsoft is dropping its lawsuit, but also says more changes are necessary, as he called on Congress to amend the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act that is at the center of the dispute.

That rule went into place before the web existed, and long before many of us stored private data and communications in the cloud. So-called "sneak-and-peek" searches by the government on corporate servers have become more common lately -- Microsoft says that over 18 months there were 2,576 demands, and 68 percent had gag orders attached preventing it from notifying customers that appeared to be indefinite. While the Department of Justice has not commented on the blog report, its memo, dated October 19th and signed by deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, directs prosecutors to delay notice for year or less, barring "exceptional circumstances."

Of course, this situation shouldn't be confused with Microsoft's other lawsuit, which is fighting a request by the US government to access email data on a server in Ireland.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Google's COVID-19 reports show where people are obeying stay-at-home orders

Google's COVID-19 reports show where people are obeying stay-at-home orders

View
'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' multiplayer is free this weekend

'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' multiplayer is free this weekend

View
Disney+ will stop cropping old 'Simpsons' episodes in May

Disney+ will stop cropping old 'Simpsons' episodes in May

View
'iPhone SE 2020' rumored to launch soon

'iPhone SE 2020' rumored to launch soon

View
Waymo’s fifth-generation Driver can peek around blind spots

Waymo’s fifth-generation Driver can peek around blind spots

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr