Microsoft denies participating in US online intelligence gathering efforts

Microsoft says it is not a direct participant in a data retrieval program by the US government that has been going on for years but has only just now come to light. The story was first broken by the Washington Post, which says that the National Security Agency and the FBI have been taking data such as emails, phone calls, documents and more from the main servers of Microsoft and other major technology companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft's Skype service.

The Washington Post's article states that the program is called PRISM and has been underway for the past several years. The article claims that Microsoft was in fact the first company that was "recruited" to be a part of the program. The government has defended its actions, claiming that the information gathered by PRISM has helped to stop a number of terrorist attacks.

Microsoft's official statement on its involvement with the PRISM program is as follows:

We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.

Other companies such as Google and Yahoo have also issued their own statements, again denying direct participation in the PRISM program

Source. Washington Post and Microsoft | Top Secret image via Shutterstock

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Zagadka said,

But Obama could have done something about it, and he just shrugged and let it keep happening. That isn't why I voted for him. That is the opposite of why I voted for him.

If one president starts killing puppies, then the next one thinks for a minute and says, "hey, let's kill kittens, too"... they are both douches.

No he can't. Congress is the power of our government, not the President. Obviously you don't know how it works. As long as the retarded Republican hav control of Congress, nothing bush did will ever be reversed. Look how Obama extended the Bush tax cuts because the Congress said no extended payments to people drawing unemployment. If I Was Obama I would have said ok. Then I will tell the people what you're doing and get you all voted out. But instead he caved.

Spicoli said,
That story was fake too.

Just all fake to you isn't spicolio?...governments spy and collect data? haha you guys are just paranoid >.> ...../s

Spicoli said,
That story was fake too.

Why use backdoors when you can have the holders of the information just transfer them to you? Much simpler and easier...

ramesees said,
Or given yesterdays news - Terrorists use software the FBI doesn't have a backdoor into

Common man.
I do believe they have zero days to get into most OS's, both sides.
But backdoors, if it was there purposely, it would've been found by now. Its been 2 decades, give it a rest.

MikeInBA said,
WaPo is backtracking on the claims that the companies knew: http://thenextweb.com/us/2013/...y-in-prism-data-collection/

Which is what i kinda expected. I honestly think the NSA has the means and know-how to do that type of surveillance w/o the companies knowledge.

Well of course they do. The Government had internet long before the rest of us even heard about it, even if it was old technology.

What people need to understand is the government are bigger liars as they have more to hide. All these corps like Microsoft and Google would not all need to publicly when evidence could easily be obtain via the Freedom of Information's Act.\

I personally would trust Microsoft and Google, before I would ever trust the Feds. EVER!!!!

I'm grossly turned off by the spin being tossed around by the reactions to PRISM. Just like SOPA, I feel like ego-driven panic over privacy concerns has buried the reality of the situation beneath towers of hyperbole, platitudes, buzzwords, and crap in general.

God forbid anybody ever question Internet outrage, though. It's a pure with-us-or-against-us mentality, eager to find new targets.

More than anything, I'm just tired of the exhaustive, unnecessary use of the word 'spy' in all articles about this. If you walk up to any single person on the street, anywhere in America, and ask them what they think "spying on your phone calls" means, they will tell you something along the lines of "listening in" or "eavesdropping", and as far as I can tell, sifting through all the crap, this was just metadata.

Leave out the hyperbole. No metaphors or hypotheticals allowed. With nothing but pure reasoning, can anybody explain exactly how a database of metadata is a threat to freedom?

1).Quell the press 2) Take the guns 3) Spy on the people.4) Use IRS to target groups you don't like,see a pattern here.

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

It's time to wake up now. Stock food, water, and firearms.

The war is upon us.

An always on, always connected, hi-def camera and microphone in people's front rooms is the NSA's wet dream, especially considering Microsoft starting providing information to PRISM back in 2007….

I would say that smartphones are in fact a surveillance devices; also current and upcoming gaming consoles with motion sensing can pretending to be one.

spike21 said,
An always on, always connected, hi-def camera and microphone in people's front rooms is the NSA's wet dream, especially considering Microsoft starting providing information to PRISM back in 2007….

What, exactly, would they be monitoring?

If these companies aren't knowingly participating in this, then they need to take steps to prevent/block whatever the Government is doing to access this info. Its the exact same thing as the Government going through our USPS mail without a warrant.

I've said it many times before, but our entire Government is corrupt. Both Democrats and Republicans.

" Its the exact same thing as the Government going through our USPS mail without a warrant."

Actually they don't need a warrant between X-ray and sniffer dogs they can find out what's in your package without opening it it's only if something is not right with your package then they open it and it's only opened by those who are so authorised to do by the US Govt .... What you think they just opened every piece of mail

#We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis.#


Yeah Right! All of the responses by the 'participants' are worded carefully.
Since the NSA has direct access to these servers, they don't need to 'provide the customer data'!!! Duh!

B.T.W
Where is the front page news sticky for PRISM? ?
The biggest violation of civil liberties from a tech point of view, and no discussion?

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