Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Microsoft Denies Cooperating with NSA

Microsoft is vigorously denying allegations made by an article in The Guardian that it provided an NSA intelligence gathering program with unfettered access to its servers. Instead, the company said it provides data only in response to lawful requests.

PCMag’s Chloe Albanesius reported, “Microsoft this week hit back at a recent story from The Guardian that accused the software giant of ‘helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption.’ ‘There are significant inaccuracies in the interpretations of leaked government documents reported in the media last week,’ Microsoft said in a blog post, which outlined how it complies with federal requests for data across products like Outlook, SkyDrive, and Skype.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide noted, “The Guardian last week reported Microsoft has helped the NSA and law enforcement access users’ emails, files and conversations on Microsoft services such as online chats and Skype calls. The Guardian story, which cited leaked NSA internal documents from Edward Snowden, also said Microsoft worked with the FBI to help intelligence services get around encryption on certain company services.”

PCWorld quoted Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, who blogged, “We do not provide any government with direct access to emails or instant messages. Full stop.”

ReadWrite’s Brian Proffitt commented, “Does this mean someone is lying here? Perhaps, but perhaps not. It could be that the access described in the leaked PRISM documents is describing the creation of a more direct connection between Microsoft (and the other named PRISM participants) and the government, but that does not mean the access is open 24/7…. Or everyone involved is lying through their teeth and we’re all screwed.”

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