Several major technology companies have backed Microsoft in a legal action against the US government over laws that could have major implications for cloud computing services.
The legislation would enable US government agencies to seize data hosted on third-party computers, while at the same time barring the hosting company informing its customers of the seizure.
Microsoft has described the law as unconstitutional, and filed suit in April in a Seattle federal court in a bid to have it overturned.
The company argued that the law violates the Fourth Amendment, part of which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires warrants to be judicially sanctioned and supported by "probable cause".
Microsoft revealed in the lawsuit that the firm has received 2,600 federal court orders in the past 18 months requiring it to hand over data to US government agencies without informing customers.
Such orders have ballooned in recent years as the US government has effectively extended the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 far beyond what was originally envisioned when it was passed.
Technology companies including Apple, Amazon, Mozilla and Google have all thrown their weight behind Microsoft, as have large corporates including BP America, Delta Air Lines and Eli Lilly.
The companies have registered their support on the deadline for filing 'friend of the court' briefs by non-participants in the case, according to Reuters.
The US Department of Justice has argued that Microsoft has no right to bring the case at all, and that there is a strong public interest in law enforcement agencies keeping criminal investigations confidential.
The case comes after the US government demanded access to emails stored on a server in Ireland. Microsoft argued that this was beyond the scope of the US courts and that the DoJ should follow long-established practice and obtain a warrant from courts in Ireland if it wants access to the emails.
Microsoft added that such actions by the US government might also contravene US-EU privacy agreements.
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