Microsoft offers to store foreign customers' personal data on servers outside the U.S.

One day after Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith proposed that a international convention establish the legal framework for government access to data, he took that idea a step further today and said that the company will now offer its foreign customers a way to store personal data on servers that are based outside the U.S. The idea is that the content would be out of the reach of organizations such as the National Security Agency.

In a chat with the Financial Times, Smith admitted that other large tech companies, including rivals like Google, were opposed to Microsoft's idea but added that the company felt its overseas customers should know if their data is being accessed by another country's government. They should also be given the option to move their data from a U.S.-based datacenter to a server located in another part of the world, with different privacy rules.

Smith said that while it will be expensive to offer this feature, " ... does it mean that you ignore what customers want? That’s not a smart business strategy." Details of how this system will work, and when it will be offered, were not revealed by Smith today.

Source: Financial Times via The Verge | Microsoft image via Shutterstock 

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Under European law they have to do that anyway. Amazon runs a data center in Dublin expressly for this purpose. The Data Protection Directive stipulates that perdsonal data may not leave the physical confines of the EU without the owner's consent.

Here in Asia it's long been the case that many legal contracts contain clauses where the parties have to warrant that they are neither US citizens nor US corporations. Most of the world's international business has already moved out of the US. London has overtaken New York and now accounts for the majority of international trading. Over the past few months I've seen contracts where parties now refuse to do any business with companies that store data in the USA. It's particularly bad for companies located in California as very few people outside the USA will do any business at all with them. This is what they voted for.

There is no "Worrying to much" about YOUR privacy. Maybe you should look further than the "I don't have anything to hide" comment

I think the best approach to cloud storage is to change the laws so they treat the customer's storage space as their own property, until they quit paying for it. Police need a warrant to bust down the door of a rented apt. Police need a warrant to search your PC . Online storage paid for by an individual should be treated no different. That rule also applies to the provider, which means no restrictions on what content can be stored on the customer's drive and other than automated backup, the provider gets no rights to examine the drive for content.

Simple as pie too me. Not sure why lawmakers and companies think otherwise.

LOL, you think storing the data off shore will stop the NSA overlords? Fat chance!
MS will give them a back door access... "or else"

Hang on, the NSA has been spying on people's data/communications OUTSIDE of the US already.... so what difference is it going to make which country the data is stored in, the NSA appear to be able to do whatever they want, wherever they want!

It's the NSA's job to spy on foreigners outside of the US. They are not legally allowed to spy on US citizens/Americans.

Moving data outside of the US, as Microsoft suggests, makes it easier for the NSA and all other agencies to get ahold of your data.

All still smoke and mirrors, Microsoft has registered companies in many countries, if one of those countries gives them a warrant for a citezins personal data, Microsoft is bound by local laws and will have no choice but to comply.

That is a like totally different though. ANY company operating in some specific country has to follow the applicable laws of the country they operate on, and will therefore comply with a warrant.

They are giving customers a way to avoid the warrantless stuff.

hagjohn said,
You are assuming that only the US is spying on their own people without warrants.

People keep forgetting (or just want to put all blame on the US) that when Prism was brought to light, it was also found out that pretty much every other country also has their own version of it and had it for years. Yet somehow it's the US alone that is the evil ones.

NightmarE D said,
it was also found out that pretty much every other country also has their own version of it and had it for years.

So you must think that only a handful of countries exist? Because only a handful were found to have something like this. Most countries don't have the resources even if they wanted to do it. The US are the worst as usual anyway, they were even found to be spying on government officials in other friendly nations and planting bugs.

Good! Start taking business out of the US until they get there **** together. Money talks, **** will soon change. (but likely still go on behind closed doors under a different operating name and company)

Vester said,
Good! Start taking business out of the US until they get there **** together. Money talks, **** will soon change. (but likely still go on behind closed doors under a different operating name and company)

Not sure if much money will be funneled outside of the US. Less information going through the US though. But I am sure the US has other ways to get data if they want it. If they dont already have it.

Complete data should be stored outside US including US people's data.

I dont know if it should or shouldnt. However, I will say that US data stored outside the US will still be monitored by NSA because it crosses into US servers at some point. So if you are NSA proofing it US data outside of the US might not be the answer.