Microsoft files suit against US government over customer data request gags

By Shawn Knight ยท 40 replies
Apr 14, 2016
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  1. Microsoft on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department in Seattle’s district court, setting the stage for what’s likely to become yet another high-profile confrontation between the US government and a technology giant.

    In the suit, Microsoft said it received 5,624 legal demands for user information over the past 18 months. The problem, as Microsoft sees it, is that nearly half of those requests – 2,576, to be exact – were accompanied by gag orders that prevent them from telling users that the government is looking at their personal data.

    What’s more, 1,752 data requests had no time limit meaning Microsoft would seemingly need to hand over user data indefinitely without ever informing the user.

    In a post on Microsoft’s blog, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, said they believe that with rare exceptions, consumers and businesses have a right to know when the government accesses their e-mails or records.

    To clarify, Smith said, Microsoft appreciates that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed. For example, such is the case when disclosure would create a real risk of harm to another individual or when disclosure would give someone time to destroy evidence to thwart an investigation.

    Given the sheer number of orders Microsoft has fielded, however, Smith said they question whether they are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy or if the issuance of secrecy orders has simply become too routine.

    Image courtesy AP

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  2. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,672   +413

  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,573   +714

    It is... Laws are always a few years behind current technology.... Problem is, technology is advancing so quickly that the law has no hope of keeping even remotely close...
  4. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,672   +413

    Ok, I didn't bother reading either one, just curious, thank you :)
  5. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    Everything electronic spies. To bring up microsoft, did you know that that update 2 months ago for windows 10 still doesn't work, rendering all new computers partially useless? Can't turn updates off. Furthermore, computers bought since 2008 with windows 7 or above automatically upgrade to win 10 and are rendered partially useless. Didn't I always tell you to stick with vista like I did? It will not get upgraded to windows 10. Had to turn updates off on vista tho or it's a cpu hog. I just went thru that. Don't know how I got my computer back.
  6. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

  7. umbala

    umbala TS Maniac Posts: 197   +176

    Funniest thing I read all week. I'm not even kidding.
  8. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,875   +1,294

    Here's a sobering thought: what if Microsoft is going to this length because the government is now demanding secret access to all of that data Windows 10 is gathering? If Microsoft were to go along with that and it got out...well, let's just say I'd be screaming "SELL" to anyone who still owned stock.
  9. MHMPr

    MHMPr TS Member Posts: 35   +19

    Funny, I didn't notice that the update from two months ago turned my new laptop partially useless, since everything is fully working as intended.
    What data? The telemetry? I'm not sure the government can do much with knowing how long functions take to respond, how often buttons are clicked, and when and how often programs crash.
    Or do you mean the information associated with the Microsoft account? I don't think the government would be all that excited about those, since Google already has orders of magnitude more of those same kinds of information about users, they could just demand that instead.
    Also, congratulations on your clearly outstanding ability of predict stock market fluctuations. Companies all over the world will fight for the priviledge of paying you millions of dollars in order to have your invaluable talent. Investors all around the world will gather to listen to your words of wisdom regarding what they should sell or buy.
  10. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,573   +714

    Did you even read the article? I'm assuming no...

    My electronic calculator is spying on me? How about my electric can opener? Is my lawnmower spying too?

    And if everything electronic spies... doesn't Vista spy too?
  11. sT3V3

    sT3V3 TS Rookie

    Get a warranty.
    go to the offenders location.
    collect devices.
    do some police work.

    MS needs to get out of the line of fire and rather not collect data from users, or change the opt-out settings during the installation from 11 stupid questions to 1....

    Do you want the US Government snooping Y/N
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    No, it's the TV and microwave you have to worry about....:eek:

    But no, Vista only spies on those devices which are spying on you. That's why it sucked so bad. M$ wanted to replaced it with an OS which gathered more information.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  13. Xerxes1

    Xerxes1 TS Rookie

    I am lost for words. What are you on dude?
    learninmypc likes this.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    Well, I don't if he's on anything or not. What I do know is, he didn't break me off a piece of it, and I'm pissed.

    In any event, my doctor was also complaining that she accepted the Windows 10 update, and her computer was giving her all kinds of aggravation since.

    Hence, if it worked for you, good for you.

    But for those who didn't fare so well, there's always the path my doctor planned to take, and that's buy a new computer. Which of course, wouldn't be free.

    I'd also like to point out, it's the best idea ever to look a gift horse, or Windows 10 in the mouth. If you've been handed a bill from a veterinarian recently, you'll know what I'm talking about
  15. Hammayon

    Hammayon TS Enthusiast Posts: 67   +14

    ROFL! Thanks for the funny response bud :)
    learninmypc likes this.
  16. Hammayon

    Hammayon TS Enthusiast Posts: 67   +14

    LOL Electric can opener is spying on me! :)
  17. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Only 5,624? Do they only work half days there?
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    Yes, mostly everyone in our government, save for the poor mailmen and women, pretty much work half days, if that.
  19. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    It's the same everywhere else in the world I suppose.
  20. walldoo99

    walldoo99 TS Rookie

    Ok the October update needs to be installed manually and that makes the computers usable again. If you have installed an anti virus, make sure you have windows defender disabled. Some of the cheap AV's don't do that for you and having 2 AV's will make it lag like crazy.
    If you would take the time to look it up on Google, not that worthless Bing, you could learn how to disable the updates and remove the ones you don't like.
  21. walldoo99

    walldoo99 TS Rookie

    I wish the stove and microwave would spy on my sister and tell her what she is doing wrong, of course she would just say it was arguing with her.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,012   +2,536

    I'll tell you, as soon as you typed the word, "sister", my eyebrows went up.....:eek:
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  23. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    Welcome to 1984, folks. Orwell, was right.
  24. gingerbill

    gingerbill TS Addict Posts: 233   +59

    what nonsense you are typing. Utter nonsense
  25. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    10 is buggy, for sure. I've had to help many people either roll-back or fix 10. Some, which wanted to roll-back, ended up borked & had to factory reset (assuming they didn't wipe it upgrading in the first place!). And yes, there was indeed a "stink" about the upgrade "auto-rolling" on some PC's (Google "microsoft, win 10, without consent")- that is true. However, Vista is already running in trouble RE: browser support/security on banking sites, etc. IE & Chrome have ditched it already- which means Firefox is next-- then what do you do? If it were me, I'd go to Linux-- but some folks don't know about it. In case you'd like to have a go, try out a live USB of Linux Mint Mate. You'd probably like it. Imho. :)

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