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Microsoft and Department of Justice battle over your private data

(BUSINESS NEWS) In another round of tech vs. national security, Microsoft is arguing against the Justice Department over how private your data should or shouldn’t be.

fcc privacy

Privacy battles

Microsoft has entered the privacy debate by suing the Justice Department for ordering the company to allow the FBI to secretly access customer data stored in the cloud. This includes email and other documents that “sophisticated criminals and terrorists” might be using to hide their communications.

Microsoft is arguing that these searches undermine the trust customers have in the company.

Microsoft says that the searches go beyond necessary limits.

Many of the orders have no fixed end date. Even after an investigation is complete, Microsoft would be unable to tell customers about the searches. The Justice Department argues that disclosing these searches would undermine investigations.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Even after investigation is complete, Microsoft would be unable to tell customers about the searches.” quote=”Even after an investigation is complete, Microsoft would be unable to tell customers about the searches.”]

A complex legal issue

Customer’s privacy rights are at stake, but the legal argument is whether or not Microsoft has standing to bring this case before the court. Generally, courts have determined that Fourth Amendment protections can only be cited by individuals. Microsoft is a third party that is asserting Fourth Amendment rights.

Many prominent tech companies support Microsoft, including Google and Apple. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a private advocacy group, also supports Microsoft, fearing that if the U.S. wins, no one will be able to use the Fourth Amendment as protection in a digital privacy case.

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Previously, I’ve reported on the Amazon Echo and the Apple iPhone. Police have asked Amazon for data that the Echo might have saved on the night of a murder. Apple has been fighting the FBI to avoid unlocking an iPhone owned by the terrorist in the San Bernardino case.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I believe Americans are fortunate to have these tech conglomerates watching out for its customers.” quote=”I believe Americans are fortunate to have these tech conglomerates watching out for its customers.”]

Where does President Trump stand?

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump said, “Apple ought to give the security for that phone, okay. What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”

Trump has also said that he would compel companies to comply with the FBI and DOJ. It will be interesting to follow this case and see what happens to our privacy rights of data we store in the cloud.


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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.



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