An ex-privacy advisor for Microsoft claims he no longer trusts the company

Caspar Bowden, formerly of Microsoft, claims he no longer uses a cell phone due to privacy concerns.

The revelations over the summer concerning the National Security Agency and their use of the PRISM program to access information from a number of technology companies continue to come up in the media. Microsoft has repeatedly stated that it only gives up information to agencies such as the NSA, "only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis."

This week, the Guardian website reports that Caspar Bowden, was in charge of Microsoft's privacy policy in 40 countries, claims that he was not aware of the PRISM program while he worked at the company from 2002 to 2011. Bowden did not serve as a privacy adviser for Microsoft in the U.S.

Now that he has left the company, Bowden believes that the NSA PRISM program undermines democracy. In a speech during a privacy conference in Lausanne, Switzerland a few days ago, he said:

The public now has to think about the fact that anybody in public life, or person in a position of influence in government, business or bureaucracy, now is thinking about what the NSA knows about them. So how can we trust that the decisions that they make are objective and that they aren't changing the decisions that they make to protect their career? That strikes at any system of representative government.

As for himself, Bowden says, "I don't trust Microsoft now." He also claims to practice what he preaches, saying he has not used a cell phone for two years. He also uses open source software for his computing needs so he can examine the code.

Microsoft is in the middle of a legal battle with the U.S. government, claiming that it should have the right to disclose more information to the public about the requests it receives from government agencies.

Source: The Guardian | Image via The Guardian

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Even if you have no internet, no phone you are still monitored. When you pay your tax's they know where you are. Here in the UK you have to register to vote and pay tax i think its actually a criminal offence not to tell them were you are.

When you walk down the street you are spied on by many camera's Whenever you enter a shop you are normally being recorded. Soon when you walk down the street you will be spied on by google glass type devices.

Not only that but soon they are doing target advertising by face recognition via street cameras. They see your face check online database find who you are and your interest and target street adds to you. Example is most people in a shopping mall at that given time like football then football ads are shown.

From the moment you were born you were government property and spied on, you have a birth certificate.. Thats a legal document between you and powers and ties you to the laws.

TInfoil hat wearing nutjob.

I'm worried it's too easy to spy on me in the digital age, so instead of thinking before I act, I'll denounce everything and go live in a cabin in the woods.

From figures I have been told in the past week the update size is around 1.2GB and they are using the 15-20 minute benchmark against a 10Mbit/s connection. Install time is an additional 10 minutes.

What's Funny is that all you Google, Gmail, Android users are screaming the Most. Yet, Google has been doing this to you, and telling you about it for years.

"He also uses open source software for his computing needs so he can examine the code."

Just a stupid, Examine is code all he wants. I am going to analyze his packets from 2000 miles away, before it ever gets to his computer.

This is getting old.

NSA (and every other nations SA's) scans keywords, they do not have the time or care to read Joe Averages Email letter to his wife's BF that he is seeing.

The NSA is doing Nothing that the Chinese and Russian and the rest of the Hackers of the World are not already doing. They just have more money, well maybe not more then the Chinese.

Do I agree with it, NO. Do I like it, No. Yet people keep voting the same idiots into Office. Who cares about the who Republican and Democrat debate. We have less then a 30% turnover in Congress. Compare that to the 1880's when there was a 70% turnover rate.

And yet you also keep voting these lawyers into office. Yes they Know all about economics, farming, national security, and telling the Truth.

People, WE ARE THE PROBLEM. You want it Fixed, stand up and do something, instead of armchair bitching. I see less then 20 people in my town hall meetings.

Let explain the crux of the problem. The government IS actively GATHERING information on everyone. Next week, years from now, or MAYBE never, if they need to "focus"on you for ANY reason, they go to YOUR file, pull up whatever they need and apply it. Couldn't be easier, more convenient or effective. The constitution either has meaning or it does not, excusing this behavior in any way shape or form through ignorance or buying into the BS fear ploys, simply puts you on the wrong side of the argument and in the end, history. True freedom has some risks, I'll take my chances with the BS "terrorists" any day vs governments.

It is not the general NSA that I worry about. Individuals there can mis-use the information for their own targeted gain. Also, individuals up top could use that information politically or to quash outspoken critics.

Of course the policy will be bland and docile only making perfect rational sense. However, the individuals are not rational actors and can do plenty of targeted harm. If that harm prevents those who are trying to right government's wrongs than it hurts all of us. If that harm shapes political offices etc. away from those who are virtuous towards those who are statists then it hurts all of us.

If you Knew how many Actual Terrorist plots have actually been obverted due to this policy you may change your tune.

However DoE and security units, unlike the Press or the idiot in the White House, do not go around boosting about their accomplishments.

Everyone says, I will take my chances, until it is there 5 year old child that gets blown up at Disneyland.

Guys, I like my guns, I love my freedom and spent 5 years in a desert defending it. That sad there is the reality of things.

Microsoft recently reported 3000 requests for information. If a request is per email, that means there is about a .0000003 chance of you email getting read. Basing that number of the 1 trillion emails Hotmail/Outlook process a year.

MikadoWu said,
If you Knew how many Actual Terrorist plots have actually been subverted due to this policy you may change your tune.
I hate that reasoning, if you can call it that.

1) We don't know the count.
2) You have to assume that, absent the policy/methods in question, that same count would not have been foiled through other policies/methods.

This is the same line of reasoning that people use to defend NASA's existence as a government program. That if NASA had never existed none of the tech that they had created or scientific knowledge they had acquired would have exist. It is not possible to prove or disprove that argument.

However DoE and security units, unlike the Press or the idiot in the White House, do not go around boosting about their accomplishments.
Or failures. Or abuses.
Everyone says, I will take my chances, until it is there 5 year old child that gets blown up at Disneyland.
I'm assuming you won't walk out of your house in the morning without a helmet. I mean, you seem to be all about directing your reasoning based off of possibility rather than probability.
Guys, I like my guns, I love my freedom and spent 5 years in a desert defending it. That sad there is the reality of things.
I'm assuming you mean Iraq. If so, I'm sorry but I think it's been proven you weren't protecting American's or our way of life over there.
Microsoft recently reported 3000 requests for information. If a request is per email, that means there is about a .0000003 chance of you email getting read. Basing that number of the 1 trillion emails Hotmail/Outlook process a year.
Yes, because it doesn't effect me personally I just shouldn't care. Lets apply that logic to your 5 year old blowing up at Disneyland, as long as it's not my child I should just act as if it's irrelevant.

Disgruntled ex-employee jumps on the bandwagon, and at the same time shows his lack on awareness of the issue.

Well it's been about two months since I asked neowin forum members to either give me their email password, or set a forwarding rule to me.

as yet, nobody has done so.......therefore, I assume EVERYONE DOES CARE about the NSA snooping. Unless they are so misguided in thinking they can trust staff who work for the government.

Or they just wrote you off as "just another person with an opinion" and took your comment about as seriously as they should!?

Nik Louch said,
Or they just wrote you off as "just another person with an opinion" and took your comment about as seriously as they should!?

people should either put up, or shut up

glen8 said,
......

My email is full of tech journal updates and training opportunities.
I do not use email for personal communication.

I'll set up a forwarding rule from GMail so you can have all my SDTimes news and CRM insights.

Not sure why you want them.

If the gov't has nothing better to do than to spy on me playing video games in my underpants and sending lovey dovey messages to my other half, then go ahead.

Jingoes like this are why young people can't wait for all the old people to die out. But then there would just be some new form of idiot to replace the old I guess.

There are plenty of young people who don't care similar to the old people they are replacing.

A well funded PR campaign through the media and other government sources, along with the cries of "oh you're a conspiracy theorist, tin foil hatted nutjob" from the dutiful public ensures that most people aren't roused from their slumber and refuse to question what is happening around them.

Geezy said,
Jingoes like this are why young people can't wait for all the old people to die out. But then there would just be some new form of idiot to replace the old I guess.

The old people will be replaced by paranoid people like us and we will be replaced by anal probe loving hillbilly peeps.

What kind of things are people hiding to make them react like this? I'm guessing the general public don't particularly care about the whole NSA thing.

Quite possibly the most idiotic statement of the year. If you don't understand or respect the idea of freedom and how privacy is a crucial, please educate yourself for everyone's sake...especially your own.

So you don't care that your taxes are being wasted on this free-but-mandatory-anal-probe-for-your-benefit? Why not have your paycheck direct deposit into the toilet?

ramesees said,
Ah so you'll have no issues making public the contents of your entire inbox then ?

If you would really like to know...
1 email from EBuyer with the subject of "Toshiba 3TB Hard Drive only £82.90 + Free Delivery‏"
and another email with the contents of "Hi i like trains do u like trains cos i really like trains do u like trains i think u do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That last one kinda put a smile on my face. But yeah, that's it. I keep it clean.

But still, haven't we known that governments have been spying on us for many years now anyway? I live in the UK, the big brother nation, I haven't spoken to anyone that would bat an eyelid about the NSA.

DaveGreen93 said,
But still, haven't we known that governments have been spying on us for many years now anyway? I live in the UK, the big brother nation, I haven't spoken to anyone that would bat an eyelid about the NSA.

But that is still a problem, you don't justify a problem by saying most people don't care!

DaveGreen93 said,

If you would really like to know...
1 email from EBuyer with the subject of "Toshiba 3TB Hard Drive only £82.90 + Free Delivery‏"
and another email with the contents of "Hi i like trains do u like trains cos i really like trains do u like trains i think u do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That last one kinda put a smile on my face. But yeah, that's it. I keep it clean.


you didn't share the timestamp, sender, and you only shared the current contents, the NSA has access to all contents, including deleted ones. You should probably share your browsing history while you're at it, and entire Facebook contents.

DaveGreen93 said,
But still, haven't we known that governments have been spying on us for many years now anyway? I live in the UK, the big brother nation, I haven't spoken to anyone that would bat an eyelid about the NSA.

Knowing and proving is the difference between being paranoid and being right.

Can't force them to change without the proof they are doing something wrong but it is top secret so they can claim they don't know what you are talking about because you have no proof.

greenwizard88 said,
........

That is why I keep all sensitive material out of the electronic medium.

No way they're going to get their hands on my rolodex.

Rookie mistake, as if you'd trust a company.

trust no one, deny everything and remember all lies lead to the truth...