Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

US Government Changes Data Request Rules about Alerting Internet Users when Agencies Accessing Their Information

The Department of Justice (DOJ) changed data request rules on alerting internet users about agencies accessing their information. Yes, Big Brother is spying on you and on me and is not telling us when they do so. However, a new policy limits the use of secrecy orders and calls for such orders to be issued for defined periods.

Microsoft filed the lawsuit in April 2016 arguing that the U.S. government was violating the constitution by preventing the company from informing its customers about government requests for their emails and other documents. See for the details.

The suit argued that the government’s actions were in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which establishes the right for people and businesses to know if the government searches or seizes their property, and the company’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Microsoft dropped the lawsuit after the DOJ changed the orders.

“This is an important step for both privacy and free expression. It is an unequivocal win for our customers, and we’re pleased the DOJ (Department of Justice) has taken these steps to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans,” according to Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a blog post at

Categories: Legal Affairs, Online Privacy & Security

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