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This article was published on September 5, 2016

Apple, Google and Amazon file briefs to support Microsoft in privacy battle with DOJ

Apple, Google and Amazon file briefs to support Microsoft in privacy battle with DOJ
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Mozilla have all filed an amicus brief to support Microsoft in its battle against the US government over the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The document, also known as a friend-of-the-court brief is designed to act as a legal show of support in Microsoft’s ongoing battle against government officials over wording in the ECPA that lets officials determine when (or if) companies should notify customers of government information requests.

These tech companies hope to send a message to the courts that the ECPA is detrimental to privacy and could be a violation of the Fourth Amendment — protection from illegal search and seizure. By not notifying customers of these requests, Microsoft feels that it’s assisting the government in violating its users’ constitutional rights.

Microsoft isn’t alone in its thinking. Aside from the amicus filing on Friday, others — ranging from British Petroleum and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to Fox News and former Department of Justice and FBI officials — have all come out in support of Microsoft.

The Department of Justice argues that there’s “compelling” interest in keeping criminals investigations private and insists Microsoft has no grounds for this lawsuit. Unlike its recent battle with Apple, it doesn’t seem there’s a third option to remedy this situation; it will ultimately have to be decided on by the courts.

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