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Technology

Microsoft sues US over secret demands for customer data

Brandon Bailey - Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — In the latest clash over privacy rights in the digital age, Microsoft is suing the U.S. government over a federal law that allows authorities to examine customer emails or online files without the individual's knowledge.

The lawsuit comes as the tech industry is increasingly butting heads with U.S. officials over the right to view a wide range of information — including emails, photos and financial records — that customers are storing on smartphones and in so-called "cloud" computing centers.

Microsoft says the U.S. Justice Department is abusing a decades-old law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, to obtain court orders requiring it to turn over customer files stored on its servers, while prohibiting it from notifying the customer. The company says that violates its constitutional rights of free speech and customers' protection against unreasonable searches.

A Justice Department spokesman said the government had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Seattle federal court.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In the latest clash over privacy rights in the digital age, Microsoft is suing the U.S. government over a federal law that allows authorities to examine customer emails or online files without the individual's knowledge.

The lawsuit comes as the tech industry is increasingly butting heads with U.S. officials over the right to view a wide range of information — including emails, photos and financial records — that customers are storing on smartphones and in so-called "cloud" computing centers.

Microsoft says the U.S. Justice Department is abusing a decades-old law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, to obtain court orders requiring it to turn over customer files stored on its servers, while prohibiting it from notifying the customer. The company says that violates its constitutional rights of free speech and customers' protection against unreasonable searches.

A Justice Department spokesman said the government had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Seattle federal court.

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