All for Joomla All for Webmasters
Major News

Microsoft drops DOJ suit after new policy on barring customers’ knowledge

Oct. 24 (UPI) — Microsoft is dropping a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department after the law enforcement body issued a new policy limiting the use of gag orders against tech companies concerning customer data.

Microsoft filed the suit last year asking a federal judge to strike down a statute of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, on the use of secrecy orders in federal investigations when they involve warrants for consumers’ electronic data.

The law, enacted in 1986, prevents companies from telling customers if their personal data is being accessed by investigators. It allows courts to order companies to “keep its customers in the dark when the government seeks their email content or other private information,” Microsoft argued in its suit.

The software giant, though, said it will no longer pursue the federal suit because the Justice Department has issued a new binding policy on the matter Monday.

The new DOJ policy says prosecutors must now “conduct an individualized and meaningful assessment regarding the need for protection from disclosure” and give specific reasons for a gag order involving customer data. The change stops courts from routinely imposing gag orders when customers’ records are turned over to investigators.

In a statement Monday, Microsoft CEO Brad Smith said the new policy is “an important step for both privacy and free expression.”

“It is an unequivocal win for our customers and we’re pleased the DOJ has taken these steps to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans,” he said.

Most Popular

To Top