Apple and Others File Support for Microsoft in Fight for Government Data Access Disclosures

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple and other companies today filed friend-of-the-court briefs to support Microsoft in its legal fight with the U.S. Department of Justice. Microsoft's lawsuit is aimed at striking down a law that prevents companies from telling customers about government data requests, reports Reuters.


    Apple joined a wide array of companies to support Microsoft, including Fox News, The Washington Post, BP, Delta Airlines, Google, Snapchat, Amazon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and more.

    Microsoft filed its lawsuit against the Justice Department in April, saying that the government is using the authority of the 30-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act to prevent companies from informing customers when they hand over private data stored in the cloud. Microsoft argues that the government is violating the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right for people and businesses to know if the government is searching or seizing their property, and the company's First Amendment right to free speech, which it would use to inform customers.

    The Department of Justice, which filed a motion to dismiss the suit in July, argues that the public has a "compelling interest in keeping criminal investigations confidential" and that Microsoft has no standing to bring on the case. It also contends that there are procedural safeguards to protect constitutional rights.

    Apple has also been embroiled in a legal fight with the DoJ, asserting that the FBI's use of the All Writs Act to force Apple to unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farouk is both unprecedented and dangerous. Microsoft was one of the many companies filing amicus briefs in support of Apple.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Apple and Others File Support for Microsoft in Fight for Government Data Access Disclosures
  2. Avieshek, Sep 2, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016

    Avieshek Suspended


    Dec 7, 2013
    This is the era of globalization. Still running a 30-year old privacy act?

    Your very own actions also influences how China reacts and Apple is a mouse there.
  3. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    Here's a good example of private companies caring more about citizen's rights then the Government. I find it ironic that liberals always put all their faith in the Government to solve problems and discount private companies as being the problem. In many cases those companies are actually the ones looking out for the citizens.
  4. 4jasontv macrumors 68000

    Jul 31, 2011
    I mean, their motives aren't exactly pure, since they are undoubtably doing it because they think people won't trust them if they simply hand it over. I wouldn't build those pedestals to high or they might tip over when those patriotic companies start getting a little shifty.
  5. Bawstun macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    Think it's more that the companies are caring about their bottom dollar - no one is going to use your software or app when word of them handing over your data to the DOJ gets out. Fighting this can *only* work in a company's favor.
  6. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Gotta love the fact that our government is so terrible that bitter corporate enemies are putting aside their differences to help each other out. And I'm not even talking about Apple/Microsoft or Apple/Google. You've got freaking Fox News and Apple fighting for the same cause. I mean honestly, how do you guys look at yourselves in the mirror every day? What do your wives, husbands and children think about what you do? Keep up the good work, Feds! You insufferable assho…

  7. alexgowers macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2012
    Sad I know that companies actually care! Nope they're just protecting themselves from the public backlash. It's a circle jerk from public to private to government and back again. Don't ever think for one second though that companies care. The government probably has the higher ground wanting to protect citizens but the ultimate goal of that logical progression is no civil rights and totalitarian rule.
  8. miniroll32 macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2010
  9. CarlJ macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    You would likely find my opinions quite liberal. And I am telling you, I believe there needs to be a balance. Financial corporations with insufficient government oversight gave us a banking crisis last decade that nearly ruined the nation (and, funny, for some reason there aren't a thousand finance company executives in jail over that - there absolutely should be). And an awful lot of boards of directors operate as group sociopaths - the corporation is given all the rights of a "person" but can't be sent to jail, the board does whatever makes the most money with little regard to morals, and the board members somehow sleep at night thinking it's the corporations's responsibility not theirs. There are a lot of good companies out there, and honest executives, but there are some pretty despicable ones as well.

    At the other end of the field, many government agencies, especially those charged with national security in one way or another, have a tendency to see constitutional protections as an irritating roadblock to "getting their jobs done" (too bad - if the rules only apply when convenient, they don't really apply)*. As I said, there needs to be a balance. Both sides need to be kept in check.

    I'm finding it rather surreal that I trust Microsoft (a company that in it's past life did some pretty dastardly things to screw the competition rather than focusing its efforts on making its own products better) more than I trust the government's security apparatus. I think there's a lot of powerful people in the security agencies that think they're helping the country, and that think it's okay to break the rules if "you're the good guys", and don't see that by doing so they're turning into the jackbooted thugs needed to run a police state. But don't take this as, "see, it's the government that's bad, not corporations" - there are serious problems on both sides.

    *: (And on a local level in many cities you find that a militarization of the police, post 9/11, has come along with a really strong us-vs-them attitude towards the people they're supposed to be protecting - mix in some bad apple racist cops that their fellow officers choose to form a defensive wall around rather than casting out, and we've seen a lot of unarmed citizen blood spilled and a lot of police coverups, fomenting more distrust and disrespect towards the police.)
  10. vooke macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2014
    Where is Facebook?

    Wait, Zuckberger is in Kenya on a Safari
  11. Nevaborn macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2013
    I don't usually give Microsoft a lot of credit but I fully support them in this. If an individual or website wants our data we can be notified so why should it be any different just because it is the government? I follow the rule the government works for us, not that we exist to serve them.
  12. Three141 macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2016
    After the NSA scandal Microsoft need to be at least seen as doing something so good on em.

    Even as a big M fan, I was very disappointed in them when it leaked, I expected something like that from Facebook and Google.
  13. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Windows default, doors are wide open.:rolleyes:
  14. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    Too late, Microsoft has been a good "socialist" and shared with other nations, hopefully for good reasons and in good faith involving all involved:

    And, yes, Apple is no less a mouse over there than Microsoft. Wouldn't it be sad if either company begged the US government for help because they made a mistake in their actions of code sharing to other nations? (Okay, Apple currently claims it has refused China's requests for code. If CEO Cook lied about small things, then why would he tell the truth about big things?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 3, 2016 ---
    I'm surprised you didn't caption it by pointing out how the people pointing found Obama's birth certificate. :rolleyes:

    More interestingly, if you hadn't mention anyone's names, imagine how many people would respond screaming "entitled lazy sloppy millennial".
  15. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    The NSA is killing businesses like Cisco and Microsoft because no one outside of the US trusts them any more. I don't understand why anyone in the US trusts them either. We just need to stop the government at everything it does. Why? Because it is not possible to split hairs with the government and they will corrupt anything they try to do.
  16. Sill, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016

    Sill macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2014
    It wasn't insufficient government oversight that caused that problem. The government created a fertile ground for such trickery by supplanting and eventually destroying our country's original sound money system, replacing it with a fiat currency system, and then raising the bar for entry into that system until only their crony-capitalist pals would be able to play their games. Anyone who tries to get around that system, from the Hunt brothers to Khaddafy, gets crushed. What should have been a free-market (and we haven't had one for over 100 years, despite what you may read in Samuelson's Economics, or hear on CNN) has been supplanted by cronyism, protected by regulation. This is the root of fascism.

    The real "banking crisis" isn't that a bunch of loans were allowed to be bundled and sold and rebundled and gambled on, but rather that fractional reserves have allowed the player banks to create money out of thin air. You can't repay borrowed money with borrowed money - at least, not in the long term. The game of "kick the can" usually ends when the kids get tired of doing it, or the can gets smashed to the point where it won't roll anymore. We are just about there.

    I agree.
    Corporate personhood could be presented as a logical extension of the socialization of risk allowed by incorporation, but its certainly not an ethical one. Like the above example of crony banking, the personhood wouldn't matter if the laws didn't specifically accommodate it. Laws exist that were specifically created to give corporations the advantage in IP, political contributions, and competition. Those laws were paid for - and sometimes written by - lobbyists employed to give those corporations an advantage. Or as Microsoft used to say, "allow us to innovate".

    I think the problem is far deeper than most people realize. Threats to our country are more likely than not actually threats to the governing system. People thousands of miles away aren't angry at Americans driving to work in sports cars, getting their hair cut, drinking, discussing radical or religious ideas, or going to church or the movies, or what have you. They are angry at the governing parties who continue to screw around with the rest of the world.
    If we didn't have a monolithic government bent on controlling our lives and manipulating the entire world, all in the interest of self-preservation and power for the sake of power, would there even be the slightest need for something like the NSA, CIA, or the like?
    More importantly - was there ever the slightest need? I think not.

    It is weird, considering the burning hatred I felt for them back in the 90s. I still don't trust them, but I trust them a lot more than I'd ever consider trusting the federal apparatus. I have to wonder though what this is really all about. Companies live at the whim of the government, who can make them or their profits disappear just about overnight. Nixon had all the networks cringing in fear because he threatened to take away their broadcast licenses. As a result of direct threats like that, and long term efforts like Operation Mockingbird, these days they are all rollover trick dogs for the bureaucracy. I would think that there is something like that working or in the works at every major tech company.

    Again, I agree. The problem is still the cronyism. The government builds a structure to allow certain parties to succeed. Then they take the people who are screwed by that and tell them "we can fix this problem if you'll only give us this much more power, and a little more funding". Then they go back to the cronies and give them more favors. It repeats all the time, and the general public keeps falling for it. Ten thousand new pages of laws every year, a court system filled with people trying to break free of what's been done to them, and political hacks arguing over how much they're going to let us keep from what we produce every year.

    "Somebody oughta pass a law, I tell you..."

    So true.

    Police have moved from being "peace officers" to "law enforcement officers". A simple traffic stop turns into an inquisition, the most innocuous things somehow become "drug paraphernalia" and the person loses their vehicle (especially if its paid off) because it was allegedly used in the commission of a felony. Simply carrying cash can get you arrested on suspicion of drug activity or, less commonly, providing material support for terrorism. Add to that most of the LEOs hired in that time frame are people coming off multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, who found that their awesome skills developed in military "service" are actually useful for being either a mob enforcer or a cop. Mob work generally doesn't have insurance and pension, and the mob is more likely to cut a troublemaker's throat than they are to keep them working, so that DD214 gets them moved to the head of the line at a police academy. Mix combat trauma with the 1043 gear all the LEOs are getting for free from the DOD, and spice it up with the "officer safety trumps all else" rule, and you have a recipe for disaster.
  17. springsup macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2013
    Well, that and the principle that nobody is above the law - not kings, not governments, not corporations. That was established at least as far back as the Magna Carta.
  18. Three141 macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2016
    It's a tough one, if you get rid of government corporations go wild and get rid of corporations governments go wild.
  19. springsup macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2013
    You're reinforcing the idea that Microsoft (the company) is a person. In reality, the company is made of thousands of people, and those people have largely changed (or changed positions) since the 90s.

    The result is that Microsoft today is nothing like the Microsoft you thought you knew.
  20. TallGuyGT, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016

    TallGuyGT macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2011
    This governmental overreach is pretty astounding. Let's trample on not one, but two amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. Good for Microsoft and the companies supporting them.

    I support law enforcement and all they do to keep us safe. However, history has long shown us that power will be abused and there needs to be checks and balances.
  21. ardent73 macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2010
    Financial corporations with UNCONSTITUTIONAL government FORCING LOANS gave us a banking crisis last decade that nearly ruined the nation (and, funny, for some reason there aren't a thousand GOVERNMENT REGULATORS in jail over that - there absolutely should be).

  22. sudo1996, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016

    sudo1996 Suspended


    Aug 21, 2015
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    But people will trust technology from Europe and China?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 3, 2016 ---
    Companies tend to hire the same people over and over unless there's a huge shakeup like what happened at Apple in the late 90s. It's 2016, and I'm still appalled by the engineering, UX... and really all the decisions that go into MSFT products. Not only are they bad, but they're the same kind of bad as before.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 3, 2016 ---
    Windows 10 hella spies on the users by default (opt-out policy). It's probably for AI stuff, but it can get scary when certain governments are involved.
  23. xbjllb macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2008
    NOT a good thing for Apple to be allied with Fox "News" about ANTHING.
  24. CarlJ, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016

    CarlJ macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Oh, I understand. I know in my head that that which is now "Microsoft" is doing a lot of good things, but it's still hard to retrain my automatic reaction built up during the two decades prior that saw a lot of mean and unhelpful things done under the Microsoft banner (the last big one was corrupting the voting process for open document formats to get a horrible mess of proprietary non-public crap declared a standard alongside ODF - there are now sections of the resulting standard that say, "this part should be parsed the way Microsoft Word parses it" - that's not an open standard, nor it it useful to, or implementable by, anyone but Microsoft, who strong-armed this in by buying votes - Microsoft got what they wanted, and the rest of the world suffers).

    It's great that Bill Gates is now a philanthropist, but his position reminds me of the robber barons of a century or so ago, who hurt a lot of people in the course of amassing fortunes, then ran around endowing schools and such to assuage their guilt. I love what he's doing now, but I don't think of him as benevolent and blameless.

    At this point, I have a dislike for the Microsoft of the 90's and early 00's, and some of their personnel, but I like what Microsoft is doing now (and by now I don't just mean this article, I mean things like their strong support for iOS now).

    When I say, "I'm finding it surreal that I trust Microsoft...", I'm talking about the collision in my head between what I know to be true intellectually (that Microsoft collectively is behaving well now), and that gut reaction built up over decades of seeing them do bad things.
  25. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location

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