Where do we as a society draw the line for access to our personal information when the government asks for it?
This morning we filed a new lawsuit in federal court against the United States government to stand up for what we believe are our customers constitutional and fundamental rights rights that help protect privacy and promote free expression. This is not a decision we made lightly, and hence we wanted to share information on this step and why we are taking it.
An issue of fundamental rights
We believe that with rare exceptions consumers and businesses have a right to know when the government accesses their emails or records. Yet its becoming routine for the U.S. government to issue orders that require email providers to keep these types of legal demands secret. We believe that this goes too far and we are asking the courts to address the situation.
To be clear, we appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed. This is the case, for example, when disclosure of the governments warrant would create a real risk of harm to another individual or when disclosure would allow people to destroy evidence and thwart an investigation. But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.