Week in Geek: Microsoft takes on the DOJ, inside Amazon’s giant post-holiday party, and more
Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice are once again battling things out in court. But unlike their duel back in the 90s, this time Microsoft is defending the rights of an entire industry in an effort to protect customer data.
The tech giant is questioning a DoJ policy that requires companies to hand over customer data without notifying the customers that are impacted. Microsoft argues that the policy violates the First and Fourth amendments, but the DoJ argues that data can also be essential to law enforcement officials.
U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart, who is presiding over the case, said it will require completely new law to resolve. “I have to confess to being in a dilemma,” Robart said at the end of arguments this week.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will help drive decision-making at a new company: Starbucks. He joined the Seattle-based coffee giant’s board of directors this week.
Both Starbucks and Microsoft, known for their local philanthropy, took part in a fundraiser this week. More than 50 companies helped donate $4.5 million to Mary’s Place, a Seattle charity that provides shelter for homeless women and families.
And in other philanthropy news, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $279 million to the University of Washington to support the study of global population health, the largest gift in the UW’s history.
Finally, we take a look at our most read story this week: A peek inside Amazon’s post-holiday party. GeekWire reporter Taylor Soper says the crowd at the event was largely young and extremely diverse, but the notoriously secretive company only let him in for an hour.
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