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Government Microsoft Privacy

Microsoft Fends Off Data Request, FBI Gets Data Another Way 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-than-one-way-to-eavesdrop-on-a-cat dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a time when the government avows that it cannot carry out justice without issuing secret warrants and National Security Letters to anyone other than the suspect, it is truly noteworthy when news breaks that the FBI, facing push-back from the likes of a company such as Microsoft, finds that it can indeed gather the information it needs for its investigation through a regular search warrant applied directly to its suspect. Such was the case on Thursday. Court documents (PDF) reveal that Microsoft filed a petition against the National Security Letter (NSL) it received involving one of its customers, citing violations to the First Amendment. The FBI later withdrew the NSL and went after their suspect in the old, Constitutionally-sound way. A federal judge ruled last year that the NSLs impinge on free speech' That judgement has been stayed, of course, pending appeal."
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Microsoft Fends Off Data Request, FBI Gets Data Another Way

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  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:08PM (#47075793)
    to gather evidence.

    In other words, roping in government information gathering abilities is an exercise in futility. If Google/Microsoft/Apple/IBM/etc. won't directly surrender confidential or sensitive personal information, they can get it another way. In effect, citizens have no right or expectation of privacy from the government.

    In other news today: water still wet, fire still hot. Film at eleven.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:15PM (#47075875)

    Nobody in all of these debates has been arguing that the government shouldn't have access to information to investigate crime, catch terrorists, etc.
    We just want them to be made to follow the rules, especially the Bill of Rights.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:22PM (#47076009) Homepage

    In other words, roping in government information gathering abilities is an exercise in futility. If Google/Microsoft/Apple/IBM/etc. won't directly surrender confidential or sensitive personal information, they can get it another way. In effect, citizens have no right or expectation of privacy from the government.

    Well, you know, what the net effect was that they went back and got a good old fashioned warrant from a judge.

    They didn't go directly to Microsoft and successfully get the information without any oversight. They had to get a judge to sign off on it.

    This is the way they're supposed to be getting it. Judges may or may not rubber stamp it, but at least it's gone through a process -- lately they've just been getting information without a warrant or oversight on the basis that they want it.

    If anything, this is (hopefully) the beginning of things swinging back to these agencies being required to show cause and follow the proper procedures, instead of just side-stepping those and getting it on demand.

  • Hey Alouicious... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday May 23, 2014 @02:20PM (#47077547)
    Can I get some of what you're smoking? Or is this just more of your delusional pattern emerging?
  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Friday May 23, 2014 @04:41PM (#47079001)

    the FBI, .... finds that it can indeed gather the information it needs for its investigation through a regular search warrant applied directly to its suspect.

    This works for past bad deeds. Where the evidence of a crime already exists and only needs to be collected. It doesn't help with collecting data in anticipation of future wrongdoing.

    No, it's called probable cause. They don't need to have evidence yet, they only need to have probable cause that such evidence exists. If they can't show an actual reason why such evidence probably exists, why should they get to invade your privacy or take your stuff? That's what some big chunks of the constitution are all about.

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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