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ACLU wants a piece of the Microsoft v. U.S. data gag order lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today asked a federal judge to let it join Microsoft in suing the U.S. government over authorities’ use of gag orders that prevent the technology firm from telling customers their data has been demanded, court filings showed.

“A basic promise of our Constitution is that the government must notify you at some point when it searches or seizes your private information,” said Alex Abdo, an ACLU senior staff attorney, in a statement Thursday. “The government has managed to circumvent this critical protection in the digital realm for decades, but Microsoft’s lawsuit offers the courts an opportunity to correct course.”

The ACLU argued that it should be included as a plaintiff in the case because it is a Microsoft customer.

“Movants are organizations that rely on Microsoft Corporation’s email and cloud-computing services to store and transmit sensitive records and communications,” stated the ACLU’s motion, which was filed today in a Seattle federal court. “For this reason, Movants have an acute interest in ensuring that the government’s demands for the records of Microsoft’s customers are constitutional.”

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