DOJ Seeks to Keep Data-Mining Secret, Snapchat 'Speed Filter' Lawsuit Dismissed

A series of tech briefs on recent Microsoft, Department of Justice, and Trump news.

by Boston Herald / January 23, 2017
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

(TNS) — The U.S. Justice Department wants a judge to throw out a lawsuit from Microsoft and keep a law that prohibits tech companies from telling customers when the government demands their electronic data.

Microsoft says its customers have a constitutional right to know when the government collects private information. The company says the law also violates its First Amendment right to speak with customers.

Microsoft says it gets about three requests each day and many don’t have end dates. Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Twitter have written court briefs supporting the lawsuit.

A Justice Department lawyer said in court yesterday that the government has an interest in keeping criminal investigations confidential. He said Microsoft doesn’t have standing to argue for its customers’ constitutional rights.

The judge says he’ll rule later.

Judge dismisses Snapchat lawsuit

A judge has dismissed claims against Snapchat that blamed the social media company’s “speed filter” for a highway crash. The judge said the Communications Decency Act provides Snapchat with immunity.

Snapchat attorney Mark Trigg said, “A loss for Snapchat would have been dangerous, opening a floodgate of lawsuits for everyone from cellphone manufacturers to billboard advertisers to makeup brands — virtually anyone that can potentially cause a distraction from driving.”

Wentworth and Karen Maynard sued Snapchat and the driver, Christal McGee, in April, saying McGee was trying to reach 100 mph on a highway south of Atlanta when her car hit theirs, sending it across the left lane and into an embankment. The collision in September 2015 left Wentworth Maynard with brain damage. McGee allegedly hit them while using a Snapchat filter that puts the vehicle’s speed on an image.

©2017 the Boston Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.