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'Microsoft’s filing zeroes in on a provision of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, written in 1986. The company argues that indefinite gag orders violate the First Amendment right to inform customers about the search of their files “as soon as secrecy is no longer required.” Additionally, the suit claims that the law “flouts” Fourth Amendment requirements that the government give notice to people when their property is being searched or seized.'

This is pleasing news, but to be honest I am a little concerned about the fact the Amazon didn't attempt one of these lawsuit earlier. I am not sure how cooperative AWS is with the government but I would assume they are the largest target for these types of requests. In general I like Amazon as a company but this makes me question their respect for user privacy.




Amazon promised bi-annual transparency reports here:

https://blogs.aws.amazon.com/security/blog/tag/Transparency+...

However only one report (covering a 6-month period) has was issued and posted in the initial blog post on June 2015. None have followed:

http://d0.awsstatic.com/certifications/Information_Request_R...


Maybe they got served a letter and it's all dead canary.

(more likely the people who decided that all have new jobs now)


Bezos talks a good game. He's got a record of promising to work for things like patent reform without much follow-through.


I can speak personally to a warrant Amazon literally said "no thanks" to. It took a while for me discover (and Amazon never informed me it occurred) but later in court, officials released Amazon's denial of the warrant on grounds of being too wide sweeping and vague. I will upload it later and redact all the details...

The exact same verbiage was used for a few other companies including Comcast who bent over backwards to lower their dragnet.

This statement by Bezos rings really true to me and they will keep my business.


Maybe they meant biennial rather than biannual?


I always thought those two terms were equivalent, and that "semiannual" was the every-six-months one. Turns out I as wrong.[1]

[1] http://writersrelief.com/blog/2011/05/biannual-biennial-or-s...


Many (most?) sources define "biannual" only as "twice a year". Yet Merriam-Webster says: "Some people prefer to use semiannual to refer to something that occurs twice a year, reserving biannual for things that occur once every two years."


It's a good lesson for contract writers and anyone else that wants to be clear. Never use any of those terms. Instead, write, "Inspections will be done every 24 months", or, "The toner needs to be ordered every six months".

If something is supposed to occur every other Friday? Write it just like that, or "every 14 days". Don't say, "Paychecks are distributed bi-weekly"


Is it common to give out paychecks twice a week though? I feel like common sense could rule out one of those cases...


Say you've got a 10 new joiners per week at your high-turnover packing factory, and a sign outside the admin office that says "Paychecks are distributed bi-weekly".

Maybe typically 5 of them have had a job before in the area, 3 have had a job elsewhere and 2 have never had a job. Not all of them have the same level of education.

How many will misunderstand your sign? Might any of those misunderstandings about money cause problems for people?

Considering the comparitive cost of writing the sign as "every two weeks", and the reduction in potential confusion, it seems like a no-brainer to write it that way.


I mean are you talking about jobs meant for those with some kind of college education, or are you talking about jobs aimed at (say) middle-school drop-outs? For the latter, I can see it, but for the former it's almost insulting to try to simplify things too much just in case the employee doesn't have common sense that they will need on the job anyway...


I was using a low-income example to make the point clear, but the same principle applies to everyone.

By assuming a high-education environment you might nudge down the number of misunderstandings. You'll nudge it further if you assume English is everyone's first language. [Note that these assumptions are probably discriminatory]

You'll nudge it further if you assume that nobody in your working environment is dylsexic, or has any other linguistic impairment. [This assumption is certainly discriminatory]

You'll nudge it further if you assume that everyone is operating at 100% all the time... which is just plain untrue, as nicely summed up by this slide from Microsoft's Inclusive Design reference: https://marcysutton.github.io/mobile-a11y/img/injury.png

While you might be insulted by language that insufficiently feeds your desire to feel good about your intelligence, your right to not be insulted is a lower priority than communicating important information clearly.


Or Centennial? :)


My impression of Amazon is they care much more about selling product than the product itself, across all their lines of business. I see the complying without a fight because it would slow down the selling process and would prevent any hint of these searches from actually going on to the public if they did.


Well MSFT just out marketed them on this one :)


1) Well, I think Amazon doesn't really care and this shows its lack of care.

2) I'm only pleased if it works. I suspect in this environment it is going to flop and is largely for PR.


Amazon did build the government its own AWS cloud. Perhaps they don't want to bite the hand of such a large customer?


Eventually, if it isn't already, this will be one of those "you own the bank" situations. Too much government stuff relies on AWS to imagine AWS just getting cut out. If Obama decided today to fire AWS, how long would that take?


concerned about the fact the Amazon didn't attempt one of these lawsuit earlier.

I have no idea why you're bringing up Amazon since the article is about Microsoft.

That said, assuming you're asking the question about MSFT: Microsoft has always been a lapdog of the Feds, as evidenced by handing over hotmail data simply from a pleasant LEA request, to centralizing and backdooring skype, to removal of the elephant diffuser, to jumping at the chance to join PRISM, to any number of chunks of evidence.

But now that data security is a marketable good (per Apple's example), MSFT feels the fiduciary duty to pretend to fight the Feds for profit.

Whenever a fundamentally evil actor gives a show of doing good, always follow the money.


> I have no idea why you're bringing up Amazon since the article is about Microsoft.

I have no idea why you're bringing up that you have no idea why he's bringing up Amazon since the article is about Microsoft since the article is about Microsoft and the comment is about Amazon.


While I disagree with the tone of your comment, I would have to agree that Apple has made it a good and responsible action to oppose such open-ended Federal requests.


It was always morally good for the consumer.

Apple's stance may have tweaked the business incentives back in line with the moral good.

Apple has always been big on the idea that best way to alter behavior is to alter incentives.


while i'm decidedly unenthused by the amount of pro-MS dialog on HN, the premise of a business being "fundamentally evil" is rather dogmatic and not very conducive to discussion.


i'm not saying that microsoft is fundamentally evil, but don't you think it's problematic that the premise "business X is evil" is necessarily "dogmatic" or "not conducive to discussion"? i mean, specifically, what about the case where "business X is evil" happens to be true?

"what's evil? this is so subjective and [insert complaint]"

suppose an organization is committed to tricking the public, ripping off the government, committing crimes, gaining power at the expense of any idea of the public good... don't you think at least some people would be confident in thus concluding "business X is evil"?

again, regardless of microsoft's motives for litigation (which i'm going to go out on a limb and suggest are probably more nuanced and confidential than can be explained in a single article), shouldn't "business X is fundamentally evil; ie they are united in the pursuit of a criminal or publicly hazardous goal," be available for discussion? all the more if the speaker has evidence?

neutrality is great if you want to be level headed and find facts... but it can't be true by stipulation. that's just crazy, and truly "dogmatic and not very conducive to discussion". yeah, "x is evil" statements require more evidence, and more explanation of what you mean (because rando on the internet stating "x is evil" conveys pretty much no information at all), but they have to be admissable.

...unless you think it's somehow impossible for organizations to come together to pursue evil (by most standards) goals?

(and, again, not asserting that microsoft is evil myself, but didn't the karma-bombed author cite reasons that s/he found microsoft taking legal action to protect its customers dubious? if someone provides argument for a conclusion, and you--without even handwaving at a reason to dismiss their argument/evidence--dismiss her conclusion out of hand, aren't you doing some serious violence to intelligent discussion? you're expressly taking a discussion that had progressed to the point of thesis-with-argument back to bald-statements/opinions/theses... that's nothing to endorse)




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