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ACLU wants a piece of the Microsoft v. U.S. data gag order lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today asked a federal judge to let it join Microsoft in suing the U.S. government over authorities’ use of gag orders that prevent the technology firm from telling customers their data has been demanded, court filings showed.

“A basic promise of our Constitution is that the government must notify you at some point when it searches or seizes your private information,” said Alex Abdo, an ACLU senior staff attorney, in a statement Thursday. “The government has managed to circumvent this critical protection in the digital realm for decades, but Microsoft’s lawsuit offers the courts an opportunity to correct course.”

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Microsoft sues U.S. government over data gag orders

Microsoft today asked a federal court to invalidate part of a 1986 law that it alleged has been abused by the government when authorities demand the company hand over customers’ data, including documents, emails and other information stored in the cloud.

In a lawsuit targeting the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Microsoft asked for a judgment that would declare unconstitutional a section of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a 30-year-old law that government agencies increasingly cite when forcing email, Internet and cloud storage service providers to hand over data to aid criminal investigations.

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