Apr 16, 2016 04:07 AM EDT

Microsoft Sued The Justice Department Over Gag Orders On Customer Data

Microsoft sued the Justice Department claiming that the government is violating the constitution to prevent the giant tech company to turn over customer data that's being examined by federal agents without their knowledge.

On Thursday, the software company filed a lawsuit in federal court aiming to put down the government's legal tool mechanism that is being used to gag companies from notifying their customers, according to Bloomberg.

The gag orders is normally used during national security investigation to restrain tip-offs that could even result in leaks or destruction of data.

The government's operation violated the Fourth Amendment, which cites that people and businesses has the right to know whether their property is being searched or seized by the government, and the First Amendment of Microsoft's right to free speech.

According to a blog post, Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smith explained that Microsoft's decision to take on the government wasn't made lightly, but the company believes that critical principles and important practical consequences are at stake.

"We believe that with rare exceptions consumers and businesses have a right to know when the government accesses their emails or records. Yet it's becoming routine for the US government to issue orders that require email providers to keep these types of legal demands secret." said Smith.

Microsoft explained that the company's restriction is focused on the data storage on remote servers, instead on the local computers of their customers, which the company argues that it has become an open target for government to obtain electronic data.

Microsoft says the government has been increasingly interested at the parties that has been storing data in the so-called cloud by conducting investigations under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The law of 1986 was long placed under inspection from privacy advocates and tech companies arguing that the ECPA was enacted way before the dawn of commercial internet era and for that reason is out of date.

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