Microsoft is suing the U.S. Justice Department over their use of "secret search warrants," because government overreaches of security "compromises some of the enduring principles of privacy," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Technology Alliance annual luncheon, according to a transcript from GeekWire.
Nadella said, with the lawsuit his company is pushing for a "new framework" that will allow the U.S. government to better balance privacy and public safety.
The suit was filed in federal court on April 14.
President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the suit was filed to "stand up for what we believe are our customers’ constitutional and fundamental rights—rights that help protect privacy and promote free expression."
Smith said it is "becoming routine for the U.S. government to issue orders that require email providers to keep these types of legal demands secret. We believe that this goes too far and we are asking the courts to address the situation."
The company claims that the current Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) violates the Constitution when it allows court orders to keep "customers in the dark" when the government is after their electronic communication.
Nadella said the U.S. government needs to find a "new equilibrium" between the privacy of personal data and the need for national security.
"We completely recognize the government’s need to protect the security of its citizens," Nadella said. "We are hoping that there is a new framework of law that allows, in fact, our government of the United States to get that right balance between privacy and public safety. I think that is very important."