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Google and Microsoft Team Up To Sue The US Government Over Transparency

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Google and Microsoft Team Up To Sue The US Government Over Transparency

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Search engine giants, Google and Microsoft, are set to sue the US government over transparency. Their goal is to win the right to reveal more information about official requests for user data.

Brad Smith, general counsel & executive vice president of legal & corporate affairs at Microsoft, revealed this news on Friday in a blog post. Smith states “we believe we have a clear right under the US constitution to share more information with the public.”

Previous attempts were made to gain permission to share information about governmental data requests with the public. After these attempts failed the decision was made to move forward with litigation.

Smith writes:

“On six occasions in recent weeks we agreed with the Department of Justice to extend the Government’s deadline to reply to these lawsuits.  We hoped that these discussions would lead to an agreement acceptable to all.  While we appreciate the good faith and earnest efforts by the capable Government lawyers with whom we negotiated, we are disappointed that these negotiations ended in failure.”

Due to the failure of these negotiations, Google and Microsoft are set to go to court. However, Smith did not specify when or to which court:

“With the failure of our recent negotiations, we will move forward with litigation in the hope that the courts will uphold our right to speak more freely. And with a growing discussion on Capitol Hill, we hope Congress will continue to press for the right of technology companies to disclose relevant information in an appropriate way.”

While the companies admit that the NSA does not have direct access to their systems, they are legally unable to disclose how many times they have been asked to provide information on users.

Smith concludes by stating both companies are optimistic about there being a path forward that will allow for sharing more information with the public while protecting national security. “Our hope is that the courts and Congress will ensure that our Constitutional safeguards prevail.”


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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