Free Speech -- 2017

Microsoft v. U.S. Dep't of Justice   (W.D. Washington)

Government access to private email

Relying on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought to search Microsoft customers’ data. Microsoft pushed back, alleging that the DOJ’s orders violate its customers’ privacy and infringe on its right to free speech. Many of these demands prohibit Microsoft from informing customers that their information is being investigated.

The NAM filed an amicus brief arguing that the DOJ's actions violate the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. Specifically, the privacy and free speech implications of the government’s actions have significant consequences for the greater business community and the innovation economy. When the government treats those who store their information at home differently than those who use the cloud, individuals are less inclined to use this potentially transformative new technology to protect their privacy. When individuals forgo cloud computing services, innovative manufacturers will lose customers.

On October 25, 2017, the Court granted Microsoft's motion to dismiss without prejudice or costs.

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (September 2, 2016)


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