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Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against the United States government for the right to notify its customers when a federal agency is taking a look at their emails. This is the latest in a series of clashes over privacy between Washington and the tech companies. Recently we’ve seen the FBI and Apple duke it out over the demand for access to a terrorist’s iPhone, Apple stood its ground and the FBI had to employ other methods to gain access.

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Microsoft has filed the lawsuit in federal court in the Western District of Washington. It argues that the government violates the U.S. constitution by preventing Microsoft from notifying its customers about government requests for their data, including emails.

The company argues that this action is contrary to the Fourth Amendment which provides people and businesses the right to know if the government seizes or searches their property and that it also goes against the First Amendment.

It pinpoints the storage of data on remote servers as opposed to data on people’s own computers, Microsoft says that this gives the government an opening to access the electronic data without people ever finding out about it.

“People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud,” the company says in the lawsuit, adding that the government has “has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations.”

There has been no comment on this yet from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Filed in Computers. Read more about Microsoft.

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