The technology company Microsoft says government agencies are abusing a law that lets them demand to read emails or online files without their owners knowing they are doing so.


From VOA learning English. This is the technology report. Technology company Microsoft is taking legal action against the United States government. The company opposes the Electronics Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA, of 1986. 

The law permits agencies to demand to read emails or online files without their owner's knowledge. In most cases, investigators must request permission from a judge to do so. Reuters news agency reports that Microsoft believes the demand violates the Fourth Amendment to the US. 

Constitution. That amendment bans unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, Reuters says. Microsoft also argues that the law violates the company's First Amendment right to free speech. Microsoft says the ECPA was established before the development of distant computer data storage centers known as the Cloud. 

The company company is a major operator of cloud storage for computers. It says it received more than 5600 federal demands to access files between September 2014. And March 2015. It says more than half of the requests did not permit the company to tell the files owners of the demand. 

Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith says that people should not lose their rights just because they are storing information. Nation in the Cloud the Justice Department says it is studying the lawsuit. Daniel Rosenthal formally served as a Justice Department lawyer. 

He told the Associated Press that forcing the government to report to owners of files their information is being accessed could hurt law enforcement efforts. For VOA learning English. I'm Anne Ball. 


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