Why Microsoft's Fight with the Government Should Overshadow Apple's

"This lawsuit comes on the heels of the Apple case, in which Tim Cook and Apple stood up to the FBI. As in the Apple case, this suit goes to show that in the cloud-computing age “we need to be able to rely upon digital intermediaries in order to protect our civil liberties,” Washington University law professor Neil M. Richards tells Inverse."

"Assistant Professor of Law at University of Washington Ryan Calo tells Inverse: “Not only do I think that their concerns are legitimate, I also think the argument is strong from a constitutional law perspective.” It’s by-the-book speech restraint:You may not speak about this thing, the government repeatedly tells Microsoft. (And in this case — though it would be unconstitutional regardless — thing meansinvasion of privacy — or Fourth Amendment violation.) “Maybe there are sometimes good reasons for that,” Calo says, “but it’s an area of the law where we want to closely scrutinize government action.”
 
Schwartz shared Calo’s belief: “This statute [§2705(b)] violates the First Amendment. Microsoft wants to share accurate and relevant information with its customers (that government seized their data). The gag orders are ‘prior restraints,’ which can rarely satisfy the First Amendment.”
 
The Fourth Amendment argument is a bit more complex: “You have to think about whether Microsoft is vindicating its own Fourth Amendment rights or whether it’s vindicating those of its consumers,” Calo explains."
 
"And we’ll let Richards take us away:
 
“What we ultimately need to see is that the civil liberties protections that we fought so hard to win in the physical world get translated, meaningfully, to the digital world,” he says. “That’s not that difficult of a thing to achieve. I think that cases like this, cases like the Apple case, cases like the one that Microsoft brought against the Department of Justice for the Irish warrant are all a part of this trend, and I’m hopeful we will get there. And that we will effectually translate our hard-won physical-world civil liberties into the digital space.”"