Friday, April 12, 2024

Details Emerge on Microsoft’s Cooperation with the NSA

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The British newspaper The Guardian claims to have seen top secret documents provided by Edward Snowden that show a high level of cooperation between Microsoft and the NSA’s Prism intelligence-gathering program. Microsoft denies the accuracy of the report.

The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe wrote, “Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian. The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.”

Suzanne Choney with NBCNews added, “Microsoft worked with the National Security Agency and the FBI to provide the agencies with the encryption workarounds they needed for access to Skype video calls, Outlook Web chats and email, and information stored on Microsoft’s cloud-based SkyDrive, according to new information shared by NSA leaker Edward Snowden with the Guardian newspaper.”

All Things D’s John Paczkowski noted, “Microsoft, ironically still in the midst of a big ‘Your privacy is our priority’ marketing campaign, disputes those allegations — but only to a point. Like other big tech companies mired in this surveillance controversy, it claims it only provides the NSA with access to customer data ‘in response to legal processes.'”

The New York Times ran a statement from Microsoft which said, “We only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks. To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive,, Skype or any Microsoft product. Finally, when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request.”

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