- Several companies and lobbying groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Delta Air Lines, Alphabet's Google, Fox News, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com — filed legal briefs Friday in support of Microsoft Corp. in a lawsuit that challenges the U.S. government's claims that it can block companies from telling their customers when their data has been examined by federal agents.
- Friday was the deadline for filing of friend-of-the-court briefs. Five former FBI or Justice Department officials also filed a brief supporting Microsoft.
- Microsoft filed the lawsuit in April challenging the U.S. government's claims that it can block companies from telling their customers when their data has been examined by federal agents.
The array of friend-of-the-court briefs filed on behalf of Microsoft show broad support for the suit, particularly from industry giants like Amazon and Apple. The suit has the potential to shape privacy standards and processes for investigation, particularly for those companies providing or receiving enterprise technology services.
The Justice Department wants the lawsuit thrown out, stating that the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) allows it to obtain electronic communications without a warrant in cases where the data could endanger an individual or an investigation. However, many argue that the ECPA, which was enacted in October 1986, was written for an earlier technological era and needs to be updated.
Microsoft asserts that 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.