Ars Technica: Judge sides with Microsoft, allows “gag order” challenge to advance by Cyrus Farivar
Microsoft Corp. v. United States DOJ, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18691 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 8, 2017)
Court: “First Amendment rights may outweigh the Government interest in secrecy.”
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Seattle allowed Microsoft’s lawsuit against the government to go forward. US District Judge James Robart ruled that the company does, in fact, have standing to sue the Department of Justice on behalf of its customers.
Microsoft’s case has drawn support from a number of major tech companies, including Apple, Twitter, Google, and Snapchat, among others.
The lawsuit first began nearly a year ago. Microsoft sued, arguing that when the government presents it with legal demands for user data held in online storage, those court orders often come with a gag order that has no end date. Because Microsoft is effectively forbidden from alerting its customers, even well after the fact, that such a data handover took place, the company alleged that its customers’ First and Fourth Amendment rights are consistently violated.