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Microsoft’s lawsuit against secret searches can proceed


MARTHA BELLISLE, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Microsoft that claims a law that prohibits technology companies from telling customers when the government demands their electronic data is unconstitutional.

In ruling against the government’s motion to dismiss, U.S. District Judge James Robart agreed with Microsoft’s argument that the law violates the company’s First Amendment right to speak to its customers. The company says the law erodes customer confidence in its cloud services.

But Robart denied Microsoft’s claim that the law violated its customers’ Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Robart cited U.S. Supreme Court rulings that say a third party can’t assert the constitutional rights of someone else — in this case Microsoft customers.

Microsoft president Brad Smith told The Associated Press that they’re pleased that the ruling allows their case to move forward toward a solution that works for law enforcement and ensures secrecy is used only when necessary.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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