Apple and Others File Support for Microsoft in Fight for Government Data Access Disclosures

Apple and other companies today filed friend-of-the-court briefs to support Microsoft in its legal fight with the U.S. Department of Justice. Microsoft's lawsuit is aimed at striking down a law that prevents companies from telling customers about government data requests, reports Reuters.

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Apple joined a wide array of companies to support Microsoft, including Fox News, The Washington Post, BP, Delta Airlines, Google, Snapchat, Amazon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and more.

Microsoft filed its lawsuit against the Justice Department in April, saying that the government is using the authority of the 30-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act to prevent companies from informing customers when they hand over private data stored in the cloud. Microsoft argues that the government is violating the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right for people and businesses to know if the government is searching or seizing their property, and the company's First Amendment right to free speech, which it would use to inform customers.

The Department of Justice, which filed a motion to dismiss the suit in July, argues that the public has a "compelling interest in keeping criminal investigations confidential" and that Microsoft has no standing to bring on the case. It also contends that there are procedural safeguards to protect constitutional rights.

Apple has also been embroiled in a legal fight with the DoJ, asserting that the FBI's use of the All Writs Act to force Apple to unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farouk is both unprecedented and dangerous. Microsoft was one of the many companies filing amicus briefs in support of Apple.

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Tag: privacy


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34 months ago
Here's a good example of private companies caring more about citizen's rights then the Government. I find it ironic that liberals always put all their faith in the Government to solve problems and discount private companies as being the problem. In many cases those companies are actually the ones looking out for the citizens.
Rating: 14 Votes
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34 months ago
Gotta love the fact that our government is so terrible that bitter corporate enemies are putting aside their differences to help each other out. And I'm not even talking about Apple/Microsoft or Apple/Google. You've got freaking Fox News and Apple fighting for the same cause. I mean honestly, how do you guys look at yourselves in the mirror every day? What do your wives, husbands and children think about what you do? Keep up the good work, Feds! You insufferable assho…

*CONNECTION TERMINATED*
Rating: 14 Votes
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34 months ago
But no Facebook? Aha!
Rating: 13 Votes
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34 months ago

Here's a good example of private companies caring more about citizen's rights then the Government. I find it ironic that liberals always put all their faith in the Government to solve problems and discount private companies as being the problem. In many cases those companies are actually the ones looking out for the citizens.


I mean, their motives aren't exactly pure, since they are undoubtably doing it because they think people won't trust them if they simply hand it over. I wouldn't build those pedestals to high or they might tip over when those patriotic companies start getting a little shifty.
Rating: 7 Votes
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34 months ago
Think it's more that the companies are caring about their bottom dollar - no one is going to use your software or app when word of them handing over your data to the DOJ gets out. Fighting this can *only* work in a company's favor.
Rating: 4 Votes
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34 months ago

After the NSA scandal Microsoft need to be at least seen as doing something so good on em.

Even as a big M fan, I was very disappointed in them when it leaked, I expected something like that from Facebook and Google.


The NSA is killing businesses like Cisco and Microsoft because no one outside of the US trusts them any more. I don't understand why anyone in the US trusts them either. We just need to stop the government at everything it does. Why? Because it is not possible to split hairs with the government and they will corrupt anything they try to do.
Rating: 3 Votes
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34 months ago

Here's a good example of private companies caring more about citizen's rights then the Government. I find it ironic that liberals always put all their faith in the Government to solve problems and discount private companies as being the problem. In many cases those companies are actually the ones looking out for the citizens.

Sad I know that companies actually care! Nope they're just protecting themselves from the public backlash. It's a circle jerk from public to private to government and back again. Don't ever think for one second though that companies care. The government probably has the higher ground wanting to protect citizens but the ultimate goal of that logical progression is no civil rights and totalitarian rule.
Rating: 3 Votes
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34 months ago

If CEO Cook lied about small things ('http://www.macworld.com/article/2952737/gadgets/the-apple-watch-secret-what-tim-cook-doesn-t-want-you-to-know.html'), then why would he tell the truth about big things?

Do you actually look at the articles you link to, or do you just think that having links in your post makes your argument appear stronger? Your link is to a Macalope article. The Macalope lampoons tech journalists and analysts in much the same way that The Daily Show and the (alas, no more) Colbert Report highlight the idiocy of politicians. The article you reference is showing what an idiot some tech industry analyst is for suggesting/not-quite-claiming that Tim Cook lied about the reasons for not divulging Apple Watch sales figures, by showing that the actual reason stated by Tim Cook is simpler and makes a lot more sense than the fearmongering conspiracy theory advanced by the analyst. In short, the article you linked to is showing the exact opposite of what you claim.

Referencing this article, as evidence that Tim Cook lies, makes you appear rather inept and foolish.
Rating: 3 Votes
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34 months ago

Here's a good example of private companies caring more about citizen's rights then the Government. I find it ironic that liberals always put all their faith in the Government to solve problems and discount private companies as being the problem. In many cases those companies are actually the ones looking out for the citizens.

You would likely find my opinions quite liberal. And I am telling you, I believe there needs to be a balance. Financial corporations with insufficient government oversight gave us a banking crisis last decade that nearly ruined the nation (and, funny, for some reason there aren't a thousand finance company executives in jail over that - there absolutely should be). And an awful lot of boards of directors operate as group sociopaths - the corporation is given all the rights of a "person" but can't be sent to jail, the board does whatever makes the most money with little regard to morals, and the board members somehow sleep at night thinking it's the corporations's responsibility not theirs. There are a lot of good companies out there, and honest executives, but there are some pretty despicable ones as well.

At the other end of the field, many government agencies, especially those charged with national security in one way or another, have a tendency to see constitutional protections as an irritating roadblock to "getting their jobs done" (too bad - if the rules only apply when convenient, they don't really apply)*. As I said, there needs to be a balance. Both sides need to be kept in check.

I'm finding it rather surreal that I trust Microsoft (a company that in it's past life did some pretty dastardly things to screw the competition rather than focusing its efforts on making its own products better) more than I trust the government's security apparatus. I think there's a lot of powerful people in the security agencies that think they're helping the country, and that think it's okay to break the rules if "you're the good guys", and don't see that by doing so they're turning into the jackbooted thugs needed to run a police state. But don't take this as, "see, it's the government that's bad, not corporations" - there are serious problems on both sides.

*: (And on a local level in many cities you find that a militarization of the police, post 9/11, has come along with a really strong us-vs-them attitude towards the people they're supposed to be protecting - mix in some bad apple racist cops that their fellow officers choose to form a defensive wall around rather than casting out, and we've seen a lot of unarmed citizen blood spilled and a lot of police coverups, fomenting more distrust and disrespect towards the police.)
Rating: 3 Votes
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34 months ago
This governmental overreach is pretty astounding. Let's trample on not one, but two amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. Good for Microsoft and the companies supporting them.

I support law enforcement and all they do to keep us safe. However, history has long shown us that power will be abused and there needs to be checks and balances.
Rating: 3 Votes
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