Microsoft Corp to drop a lawsuit against the U.S. government after the Department of Justice (DOJ) changes data request rules to alert internet users about agencies accessing their information.
This latest policy restricts the usage of secrecy orders and requests for such orders to be given for defined periods, Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith had stated in a blog post.
“As a result of the issuance of this policy, we are taking steps to dismiss our lawsuit,” Smith said.
Microsoft anticipates that the changes will bring an end to the practice of indefinite secrecy orders. In April 2016, Microsoft filed a lawsuit stating that the U.S. government was defying the constitution by prohibiting them from informing customers about government requests for emails and other documents.
The lawsuit is based on the defiance of both the Fourth Amendment, which gives the right for people and businesses be aware if the government searches or seizes their property, and the company’s First Amendment right to free speech.
The changes will make certain that secrecy order requests are “carefully and specifically tailored to the facts in the case,” Smith said.
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“This is an important step for both privacy and free expression. It is an unequivocal win for our customers, and we’re pleased the DOJ (Department of Justice) has taken these steps to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans,” the statement said.
Microsoft is repeating its request to Congress for the modification of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act which was implemented in 1986. The DOJ did not respond to request for comment outside.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the Trump administration’s plea of a lower court’s ruling prohibiting federal prosecutors from obtaining emails that are stored in Microsoft computer servers in Ireland for a drug trafficking investigation. Government lawyers argue that the lower court rulings have endangered national security and public safety.