Bill Gates adds his support to Microsoft’s secrecy lawsuit against the US government

Arif Bacchus

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Last week, Microsoft made headlines when it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over secrecy orders. This week, and in a Monday interview with Reuters, Microsoft founder Bill Gates spoke about that very situation.

Bill Gates said on Monday to Reuters that, “no one was an absolutist” on either side of the digital privacy debate, and that he supports his company’s lawsuit against the U.S. Government seeking the freedom to tell customers when federal agencies have sought their data. At the Reuters Newsmaker event in Washington, he also told Reuters,

There probably are some cases where (the government) should be able to go in covertly and get information about a company’s email… The position Microsoft is taking in this suit is that it should be extraordinary and it shouldn’t be a matter of course that there is a gag order automatically put in.

Gates also said that more collaboration between law enforcement and privacy advocates would help determine, “legislative framework … strikes the perfect balance.”

Earlier this year, the Microsoft co-founder, though, originally appeared to have distanced himself from Apple in their legal battle with the F.B.I. over a terrorist’s iPhone.  Microsoft’s current case, nevertheless, argues that the government is violating the U.S. Constitution by preventing Microsoft from notifying thousands of customers about government requests for their emails and other documents.