United States v. Microsoft Corp: The History of Legal Battles


Microsoft has indulged into a legal battle with the US government over the issue of privacy. The technology giant has filed a lawsuit against the government for the right to inform customers when a federal agency is looking at their emails.

The Redmond-based company has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Seattle on Thursday. The company alleges that the government is violating the U.S. Constitution and stopping Microsoft from intimating thousands of customers regarding government requests for their emails and other documents, cites WSJ.

This is not the first time that any tech company has indulged a legal battle with the government.

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Recently, a well-known case of Saint Bernardino’s was making the news. Apple and the FBI had met each other in a case where FBI needed help from Apple to access a Saint Bernardino killer’s iPhone.

In the past, every resolution that communications technology has taken have sparked new battles. And it changed the course of law enforcement, surveillance and civil liberties.

In the time where Internet and e-mails was a distant dream, mailed letter was medium of communication with two people. It was transported by steamer or train, making possible same-day-and sometimes faster communication. These letters had to pass through the telegraph operators which made easy access to government agents, notes The Big Story.

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The Western Union entered into a legal battle with the government regarding the privacy and security breach. During the mid-to-late 1800s, the case was making the hot news. The company argued that the government’s requests for information were very often and unreasonable searches were not permitted by the Constitution. A similar case to Apple and the FBI.

In 1977 case, a regional AT&T subsidiary provided information to FBI agents but refused to lease them phone lines. FBI wanted to install a “pen register”, which is used to record the numbers dialed on a phone. This would help gather evidence to investigate a gambling ring. The company stated that it cannot allow the wire-tapping without a warrant under the law. However, a federal judge and court appeals forced the company to give technical assistance to the government.

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