Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice.
In the landmark filing Microsoft takes a direct stand against federal agents who are routinely asking for customers’ personal information in complete secret.
Microsoft says the federal government has taken an unconstitutional policy for examining Microsoft customers’ data while forcing the company to operate under a gag order.
The company says in just 18 months federal judges have approved 2,600 secret searches of Microsoft customer data.
In two-thirds of those cases, Microsoft was not allowed to notify their customers that they’ve been searched.
There is no expiration date on these judicial orders which means many Microsoft customers will never learn of their invasion of privacy.
“Microsoft brings this case because its customers have a right to know when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails, and because Microsoft has a right to tell them,” the lawsuit says.
“People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud,” Microsoft says in its lawsuit. “The government, however, has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations.”
The Department of Justice did not provide immediate comment.