Skip to main content

Microsoft v. Department of Justice

Microsoft v. Department of Justice

Microsoft sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) in April 2016 challenging portions of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that allow the government to serve a warrant on the company to get access to customers’ emails and other information stored on remote servers—all without telling users their data is being searched or seized. The lawsuit seeks to strike down the ECPA provisions, which were enacted 30 years ago, long before the emergence of ubiquitous cloud computing that now plays a vital role in the storage of private communications. The government has used the transition to cloud computing as an opening to conduct secret electronic investigations by serving search warrants on Internet service providers seeking users’ emails, the lawsuit says. Account holders don't know their data is being accessed because of the unconstitutional ECPA provisions, while service providers like Microsoft are gagged from telling customers about the searches.

EFF filed an amicus brief in the case saying the government is violating the U.S. Constitution when it fails to notify people that it has accessed or examined their private communications stored by Internet providers in the cloud. 

JavaScript license information