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Government wants Microsoft data suit dismissed

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SEATTLE — The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by Microsoft that seeks to quash a law that prohibits the company from telling its customers when the government demands data stored electronically.

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

Microsoft says it gets about three non-disclosure requests each day, seven days a week, and many don’t have end dates.

A justice department lawyer told a federal judge Monday that the government has an interest in keeping criminal investigations confidential. He said Microsoft doesn’t have the standing to argue for the Fourth Amendment rights for its customers.

The judge says he’ll rule on the motion to dismiss at a later date.