Back in 2013, Microsoft had gotten a request from the FBI, requesting data on one of their enterprise customers, so basically the FBI just wanted to know more about that particular user. However the feds also added a gag order, where basically they wanted to get information about that particular user without them knowing about it, meaning that Microsoft could not tell their customer that they were being investigated.
Given what a big deal privacy is, and how the Snowden reports shows just how shady some of this data collection has been over the past few years, it is understandable that the gag order was not appreciated. In fact Microsoft had taken the FBI to court to challenge the gag order. The good news is that they won, with the courts finally unsealing the documents related to last year’s case.
Microsoft had claimed that the gag order violated the company’s constitutional rights to free expression, and they actually have a standing policy on these sorts of gag orders, so it’s not like Microsoft wasn’t being cooperative, it was that they were just trying to be fair to both parties. In fact recently we’ve seen companies rush to show just how transparent they are.
For example companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google have announced that they will now be routinely notify its users whenever they are served with government requests. This is so that their users know that their information could potentially be shared with law enforcement agencies, as opposed to being kept in the dark. Naturally not everyone is pleased with this new transparency policy, but what do you guys think?