The Guardian on Thursday published a new report based on top-secret files provided by Edward Snowden.
This one says that Microsoft collaborated closely with US intelligence services to let them spy on its users’ email, cloud files and Skype conversations.
Microsoft denies the report, saying it only provides user data in response to a due legal process and that it does not “provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product.”
Interestingly, this was the second time this week that Microsoft publicly denied being part of the government’s PRISM program. During an ask-me-anything (AMA) session on Reddit, the team that creates OneNote (Microsoft’s answer to Evernote) fielded some questions about NSA spying.
“Until it was reported in the press, Microsoft had never heard of PRISM and did not ‘join’ it or anything of the kind,” the OneNote team said.
Here’s Microsoft’s full statement issued on Thursday.
“We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues.
First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes. Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, 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, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate. To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, 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. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.”
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