Microsoft starting new round in Sneak and Peek battle with U.S. government

Microsoft starting new round in Sneak and Peek battle with U.S. government


Microsoft is intending challenging a federal judge’s ruling that forbids the software maker and cloud service provider from making known to one of its large corporate customers that its data has been requested by the U.S. government, said the company.

Microsoft has challenged that order in a lower court and it will follow an appeal in an appellate court if deemed necessary, Microsoft’s general counsel Dev Stahlkopf said in a blogpost, adding that Microsoft would continue to stand up with its stance that its customers have right to know whenever the government ask the company to provide the data of any of its customers.

The warrants, namely “sneak and peek”, issued in process of a federal inquiry is in requirement of not informing that subject of the inquiry that U.S. government has requested the company to provide their data.

The case is the latest round in a years-long battle between Microsoft and the U.S. government over those secrecy orders.

In 2016, Microsoft with other technology giants such as Inc and Apple Inc at the back of it had filed a lawsuit against government over practice of issuing such sneak and peek warrants, arguing that the practice had become too common. The Department of Justice, a year later, said that it would rationalize the use of those secrecy orders.

Though Microsoft had limited information on this specific case, but said that the customer, whose data was sought by the U.S. government through that warrant, was th employer to thousands of people, Stahlkopf said.

On the basis of limited information available to the company regarding this case, Microsoft is in view that secrecy order was drawn in a much broader way, which is not in agreement with the policy of the U.S. government that emphasizes on secrecy order to be made narrowly drawn, Stahlkopf said.

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