Neat story last week from ArsTechnica about how the FBI withdrew a national security letter targeting an Office 365 enterprise customer following Microsoft's court challenge to a provision of the letter gagging the company from informing the target.
Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith wrote in a blog post, "In this case, the Letter included a nondisclosure provision and we moved forward to challenge it in court. We concluded that the nondisclosure provision was unlawful and violated our Constitutional right to free expression. It did so by hindering our practice of notifying enterprise customers when we receive legal orders related to their data."
Last year, a federal judge ruled that these gag orders violate the First Amendment rights of those receiving them and she declared the letters unconstitutional. The decision has been stayed and is pending appeal.
The name of the targeted Microsoft customer was blacked out in the records. The 2013 national security letter was not included in the documents. Ultimately, the authorities managed to get the information directly from Microsoft's customer.
Still, it is heartening to see companies like Microsoft standing up to the government and endeavoring to protect their customers. Way to go Microsoft.