Microsoft, DoJ Go To Court For Customer Privacy Issues

US Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr said: "We are reviewing the decision and its multiple dissenting opinions and considering our options".

Some argued that the panel did not appropriately address the issues surrounding the challenges faced by law enforcement when dealing with electronically stored data. At stake is a key element of Microsoft's challenge to the US practice of secretly accessing customer data stored in the cloud, including e-mail. Microsoft said the government made 2,576 demands for data over an 18-month period before April 2016, the most recent numbers available, and about 68 percent of those had no end date.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said that the decision puts focus on improving the 31-year-old law while protecting consumer privacy.

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Many privacy and digital rights activists have supported Microsoft as a way of guarding against overreach by the United States government, although some say the implications of the case are not clear. Thus affecting the company's right to be transparent with its customers.

Servers maintained by Microsoft, Google, and other technology giants have gone a long way toward replacing desk drawers or file cabinets as custodian for personal effects, including health-care and tax records, and love letters, Rummage said. Calling the issue a dilemma in court Monday, the judge said he will issue a written ruling later. "Microsoft customers have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the content they have stored".

"I'm disturbed by the idea that you can have an invasion of rights or privacy without ever disclosing it", he said.

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"Those are the kind of things that historically have been granted the greatest form of protection" from government search and seizure, he said. Microsoft has done what needs to be done to protect its customers, but too shall know that the government uses the information they give to the company for something completely different than surveillance.

Microsoft also noted that instead of forcing the company to compromise their business the government should fix any issues with the current data sharing agreements with foreign governments.

The Redmond, Washington-based company concedes there may be times when the government is justified in seeking a gag order to prevent customers under investigation from tampering with evidence or harming another person.

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That process lacks balance, Rummage said, because warrants are written by the government without defendant input, witnesses or debate.