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.