Microsoft’s Top Lawyer Becomes a Civil Rights Crusader

"Challenging the government over the scope of search warrants may seem like administrative arcana next to causes that get crowds of protesters onto the streets. But there is a connection between Microsoft’s court cases and other civil rights battles, says Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University. Protest movements can’t form, he says, unless people with unconventional ideas can communicate and organize without the government looking over their shoulder. “It’s only because of freedom of speech and protection from surveillance that we have desegregation, or marriage equality, or the trans bathroom fight in the upper South,” he says. “We need the breathing space to [protest] in an age of digital surveillance.”"