Microsoft, Google v. NSA lawsuit to proceed

Microsoft, Google v. NSA lawsuit to proceed

Summary: The negotiations have failed, the government requests for delays are over, and the parties are proceeding to litigation.


Microsoft and Google's motion at the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) to allow them to disclose their policies and some aggregate data on their compliance with court-ordered disclosures of customer data will be proceeding to litigation before the FISC.

In July, both companies made vague motions to the court for such disclosure. Microsoft explained their motion in a blog entry by General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith


Since that time, the government has requested, and the court has granted, a series of delays before the government had to reply to the motions. Microsoft says that during those delays the companies negotiated with the government for a settlement.

Last week those negotiations failed. Microsoft and Google announced that they would not agree to any more extensions. They filed with the court a motion to stay proceedings for 10 days so that they could prepare amended motions for declaratory relief.

The court granted the stay and ordered Microsoft and Google  to submit the modified motions by 5PM this coming Monday, September 9.

These new motions will be much more specific as to the level of disclosure sought by the companies.  They will also be public.

This may not be true of the rest of the proceedings. Whether the proceedings of the litigation will be released by the court is not clear at this point

Topics: Security, Google, Microsoft

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  • So what will the fascistic country USA do?

    So what will the fascistic country USA do? Smash out the democracy officially?
    • And be like your country?

      No, I'd rather we keep the democracy thing.
      William Farrel
      • The U.S.A. is not a democracy

        It's a constitutional representative republic, and there's a big difference.

        Democracy is:
        Tyranny of the majority.
        Mob rule.
        51% voting to deny rights to 49%.
        Two wolves and a lamb deciding what to eat for dinner.
  • Americans, STAND UP!

    Good gawd, have we all become a herd of sheep? Look, I understand there are rare instances where spying is needed but WE should have a full and clear understanding of how and when it comes into play. This BS of "trust us" is just that BS!
    • Agreed

      If people actually did the research, they'd be amazed at the amount of personal freedoms that we've lost since this country's inception.

      The easiest way to get people to give up these freedoms is to scare them and make them think it's for their own protection (ie: "this is to protect us from terrorism"). People will do damn near anything to feel "safe" and those in power know this.

      The problem is that there's a fine line between doing what's needed to protect us and "Big Brother".
  • Rubber Stamps

    The FISC is going to rule on this? They are the rubber stamp of the NSA. They just follow their orders, and I can guess how they'll be ordered to rule on this.
    • don't jump to conclusions

      The counter to the "rubber stamp" argument is that, while the court nearly always signs off on an order, the government doesn't necessarily get what it wants. There is a negotiation process and orders are adjusted to the satisfaction of the court.
      This case is a good opportunity for the FISC to show its independence. Maybe they'll use it.
      • No jumping involved

        even if the government has to change what it does, it is evident that the FISC tries to make things work - it is not an impartial arbiter, and it is has to explain its reasoning to no-one.

        compare, e.g., to the German Constitutional Court, which is public and has told German Intelligence Services and governments they should quit smoking whatever they're using on more than one occasion.

    Noone is linking this NSA monitoring of communications with the Patriot Act of 2001 and its driving me nuts! I hear that in the 90's the NSA was told not to do monitoring of encrypted communications, but what about the 2000's with the induction of the Patriot Act. I guarantee they have provisions within this document. Just saying.
    • There is a provision

      But it requires that it be a specific investigation.

      That's why one of the writers of the Patriot Act isn't too happy with them, they're not even using it right.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • CharlesClarke

      Even when ordered to stop, the NSA continued and this was befor the Patriot Act
  • DUH !!!!

    Sorry, but I just don't put anything out there that is SOOO private that it makes any difference to me WHO sees it. Other than my financial account access, who give a fat rat other than those who have something to hide?
    John the Farmer
    • Nothing?

      How about a film of you making love with your partner, or of your children taking a bath? Would you be happy to share that? How about the details of a proprietory process that your company uses, and profits from?

      Voyeurism may seem more unlikely than industrial espionage (which plenty of governments do), but there have been complaints of public surveillance cameras being pointed at houses and, in particular, at bedroom windows. Then there was the school that was found to have used "security" software on school issued laptops (use was compulsory) to spy on schoolchildren at home and in their bedrooms...

      Don't worry, though, it's for our protection. If we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear.
      • Adendum

        Just noticed that you said "put out there": the probkem is that it's not just what you are choosing to transmit. As was seen in the school case that I mentioned, spyware is being installed. In that case the school installed it on machines that they owned (but required the use of, and did not mentiin the "security" software), but governments are researching hacking into computers to the same end - let's face it, they're probably already doing it: the chines are, and our governments are no better.
        • I cover the camera on my laptop

          with a piece of cardboard taped to the edge of the lid. A tab on the other end of the tape allows me to "hinge open" the cardboard when I WANT to use the camera. In other words, once in three years. I don't trust software, but no bot program can see through cardboard.
    • Well, let's look at who has something to hide...

      ...that would be every single company out there which has intellectual property, every single lawyer and every single doctor out there and plenty of other people with privileged communication.

      You think it's no problem? You think that just until your boss hands you your papers because he has to lay you off as his great new project has just been patented by someone else, using the blueprints YOU made.
    • The 4th Amendment

      Specifically prohibits any search of a person, his home, papers, or effects, without a warrant sworn on probably cause and specifying exactly what they're looking for.

      So, John, there's either a sworn warrant against you naming probable cause, or a seizure of your papers or effects is illegal.
  • Addition to DUH!!

    Something to hide, like terrorist groups, money launderers, drug traffickers, and unfortunately human traffickers, oh yeah and how about the crooked (nearly everyone) politicians? Just saying !!!
    John the Farmer
    • And the "adversaries"

      To use the spooks term for civilians. If you really believe that they'll stick to spying on suspected criminals, then I have a lovely bridge to sell you.
      • See, that's the issue you and others seem to share

        "If you really believe that they'll stick to spying on suspected criminals"

        Why would they want to spy on you? In the grand scheme of things, you and I are not important, our lives are not important. We have nothing of interest to them.

        spying on us is a waste of their time, so they don't do.

        I think the people that worry about being spied on are way full of themselves, actually believing that their lives are of so much importance, that people want to actually spy on them.

        In truth, it's just the opposite.
        William Farrel