Mozilla, Apple, and Google join Microsoft’s army to fight against US gagging orders

Another tech name has come up in support of Microsoft which has been fighting against the US Department of Justice’s unjustified gagging orders.

Mozilla, in coalition with Apple, Lithium, and Twilio, has filed anamicus brief to fuel the lawsuit against the DOJ.

Microsoft filed the lawsuit in April in order to put a bar on gag orders issued by the courts. The orders prohibit a company to make public disclosure or even notify the concerned person when a security agency requests for the data in the name of criminal investigation.

Redmond says that these orders are a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which mandates that a person and a company has the right to be informed if a federal government searches and seizes their property.

On the other side, DOJ argument focuses on the fact that an ongoing investigation should not be revealed. Microsoft doesn’t concern to and doesn’t have a standing in such matters.

As far as Microsoft is concerned, it is exercising its right of free speech that comes under the First Amendment.

According to the lawsuit, Microsoft had to deal with 2600 gagging orders from courts in a time period of 18 months. The government is utilizing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to involve companies, that store data in the cloud, in the criminal investigations.

Court orders like these are a hard blow to the transparency offered by many companies. And that the reason names like Mozilla are stepping forward. “We have yet to receive a gag order that would prevent us from notifying a user about a request for data. Nonetheless, we believe it is wrong for the government to indefinitely delay a company from providing user notice,” writesDenelle Dixon-Thayer who is the Chief Legal and Business Officer at Mozilla Corp.

The list of backer isn’t only confined to the technology world. Other names include Delta Airlines, Washington Post, Fox News, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Google, Amazon, EFF, and much more. Also, five ex-personnel from the FBI and DOJ have also contributed to the amicus brief supporting Microsoft.

— via Reuters