National Security Agency HQ
As Microsoft continue to be accused of sharing personal information following the infamous PRISM leak earlier this year, the company today released a blog post explaining their allegations and reporting that the government is stopping them from their constitutional right to share information. While awaiting the Attorney General's decision on whether they have the right to share all National Security requests they have received, Microsoft have revealed "as much information" as they currently can.
In regards to Outlook, the company has confirmed that they do not provide direct access to email messages. They affirmed that in the case of requests for information, data is reviewed, and then released, following a lengthy legal process. Similarly, all SkyDrive data is only given out following specific demands - there is no free access to users' information. They say requests are treated the same in the US as they are internationally.
Recent changes to the way Skype calls were moved around Microsoft's data centres prompted concern and doubt about the service's integrity in regard to government interference. In the post, Microsoft responded to the claims, assuring us that these changes were not made to facilitate the government, and that once again, legal requests are reviewed and treated similarly to that of Outlook and SkyDrive.
For business customers, Microsoft added emphasis on the high regard they hold for security and encryption. Microsoft often redirect the requests to customers, and allegedly never allow the government to break encryption, and never shares encryption keys.
In summary, the company stated:
Microsoft does not provide any government with direct and unfettered access to our customer’s data. Microsoft only pulls and then provides the specific data mandated by the relevant legal demand.
If we do receive approval to share more information, we’ll publish it immediately.
These announcements are a bold move in an ongoing saga over data which has ruptured the tech industry over the past few months. Clearly, all the big corporations feel violated and vulnerable to questioning, and are doing everything to protect their appearance and integrity.