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It has recently been revealed that Donald Trump’s DoJ launched a wide-ranging investigation into White House leaks in 2017 which requested information about a number of Democrat members of Congress, their family and acquaintances from US technology companies.
Apple recently informed the subjects of the secret investigation after the DoJ’s gag order expired, and now Microsoft has also confirmed that it handed over related data to the DoJ.
‘In 2017 Microsoft received a subpoena related to a personal email account. As we’ve said before, we believe customers have a constitutional right to know when the government requests their email or documents, and we have a right to tell them,’ the company said in a statement to the DailyMail.
‘In this case, we were prevented from notifying the customer for more than two years because of a gag order. As soon as the gag order expired, we notified the customer who told us they were a congressional staffer.’
It is believed that Google received a similar request, but unlike Apple and Google, the company resisted the order, with the New York Times saying Google fought a gag order on a subpoena to give the government data on the emails of four reporters for The New York Times. That subpoena was a part of the same investigation into leaks by the Trump administration.
‘We will continue to aggressively seek reform that imposes reasonable limits on government secrecy in cases like this,’ Microsoft said in a statement, while Apple said ‘We regularly challenge warrants, subpoenas and nondisclosure orders and have made it our policy to inform affected customers of governmental requests about them just as soon as possible.’
The investigation has been compared to Nixon’s abuse of power and may become the subject of criminal charges against Trump.
‘The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is initiating a review of DOJ’s use of subpoenas and other legal authorities to obtain communication records of Members of Congress and affiliated persons, and the news media in connection with recent investigations of alleged unauthorized disclosures of information to the media by government officials,’ DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement.
‘The review will examine the Department’s compliance with applicable DOJ policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations. If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider other issues that may arise during the review.’