Mozilla throws its support behind Microsoft in gag order lawsuit

Michael Cottuli

Earlier we reported on Microsoft’s lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice, showing that a ton of companies (including Apple and Google) are standing behind Microsoft in the interest of a more well-protected standard of privacy. If that wasn’t enough, it turns out that the lawsuit (which aims to take down the government’s right to issue gag orders to companies) just got another big ally: Mozilla.

Transparency  – or more appropriately the lack thereof – is why we care about this case.  When requesting user data, these gag orders are sometimes issued without the government demonstrating why the gag order is necessary. Worse yet, the government often issues indefinite orders that prevent companies from notifying users even years later, long after everyone would agree the gag order is no longer needed. These actions needlessly sacrifice transparency without justification. That’s foolish and unacceptable.

Mozilla has long stood as one of the shining examples of transparency online, which should make it no surprise to anyone that they’ve decided to throw their support behind Microsoft in this case. Regardless of whether or not you think these orders are justified, it only makes sense that an organization like Mozilla would be against something that keeps a company from disclosing vital information to its users. It’s yet to be seen if Mozilla’s support for Microsoft here presents any sort of tangible benefit, but it’s a show of good will that privacy advocates will be very happy to see.