Monday, April 18, 2016

ON THE PARANOIA FRONT - Microsoft on the Bandwagon

"Microsoft sues DOJ over demands for access to customer data" PBS NewsHour 4/15/2016

Here we go again.  The paranoia over privacy that helps criminals and terrorists hide from the law, even with a legal warrant.


SUMMARY:  In the wake of the FBI’s showdown with Apple last month, a new tech giant is taking up arms against government oversight.  Microsoft sued the Department of Justice Thursday, arguing that it is unconstitutional for the government to request access to a customer’s data while banning Microsoft from informing the individual in question.  Microsoft president Brad Smith joins Judy Woodruff for more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  A high-profile showdown between a tech giant and the U.S. government over accessing private data.

This time, it’s Microsoft.  Yesterday, the company filed a suit against the Department of Justice in federal court.  Microsoft argues it’s unconstitutional for the government to ask for customers’ personal data or e-mails in most cases without the individuals’ knowledge.  The company says it’s received more than 5,600 requests for such data from the government in the last year-and-a-half, often from the cloud or remote servers.  And nearly half of those requests come with a ban from the government on alerting customers.

Brad Smith is the president of Microsoft.  He joins me from company headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

And welcome to the program, Brad Smith.

I do want to point out we invited the Department of Justice to join the interview, but they declined.

So, let me begin by asking you, what is it that the federal government is doing that Microsoft doesn’t like?

BRAD SMITH, President, Microsoft:  Well, what gives us concern is the fact we have received almost 2,600 — almost 2,600 of these so-called gag or secrecy orders over the last 18 months.

Over two-thirds of them have no end date at all.  So it means that we are permanently prohibited from telling customers that the government has accessed, read and obtained copies of their e-mails.  We feel that infringes on the constitutional rights of consumers and businesses to be secure from unreasonable government searches.

It infringes on our First Amendment right to speak, to share information with our customers.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Well, we know the Justice Department has not responded to the lawsuit.  They have not said anything publicly, but we know that in the past they have said these are investigations that involve criminals, people who are breaking the law, that involve — that are perhaps involved in potential terrorist acts.

Why not work with the government when they’re trying to go after the bad guys?

BRAD SMITH:  Well, this is an issue that we have discussed with various officials in government for some time.

And we readily recognize that there are many cases where there should be some kind of secrecy, that there is a real danger if information is disclosed.  But we feel that these kinds of secrecy orders have been — become too routine.  They’re being issued in cases that involve businesses, as well as consumers.


...hence, the paranoia.  Like businesses can't be criminals or help terrorists hide?  Also, lets warn the criminals BEFORE they are brought to trial, think secret Grand Juries.  Oh, wait, the Black-WEB sites used by drug lords and terrorists to hide.  Humm.... could it be the big profits such companies make laundering hiding money?

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