Microsoft presses US on data request disclosures

Jul 16, 2013
Microsoft Corp. legal chief Brad Smith speaks on September 17, 2007 in Luxembourg. Microsoft said Tuesday it had asked the US government for permission to disclose details of how it handles national security data requests, citing "inaccuracies" in recent media reports.

Microsoft said Tuesday it had asked the US government for permission to disclose details of how it handles national security data requests, citing "inaccuracies" in recent media reports.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said the company had asked the US attorney general "to personally take action to permit Microsoft and other companies to share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information."

"We believe the US constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the government is stopping us," Smith said in a blog posting.

He said the government has yet to respond to a petition filed in court on June 19 seeking permission to publish the number of requests the company has received.

"We hope the attorney general can step in to change this situation," Smith said, adding that in the interim, "we want to share as much information as we currently can."

He added that "there are significant inaccuracies in the interpretations of leaked reported in the media last week."

The reports indicated Microsoft facilitated the government's ability to tap video calls on Skype, a service Microsoft acquired in 2011.

Smith said that in regard to Skype, "we only respond to legal government demands, and we only comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers."

He added that technical changes made to Skype in 2012 "were not made to facilitate greater access to audio, video, messaging or other customer data."

Smith said the policy is similar for its Outlook email service and SkyDrive cloud service.

"We still require governments to follow legal processes when requesting ," Smith said.

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and other Internet titans have come under heightened scrutiny since word leaked of vast, covert US authorities insist target only foreign terror suspects and have helped thwart attacks.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Secret court opens door to unsealing Yahoo! documents

Jul 16, 2013

The secret US court overseeing national security investigations has opened the door to declassifying documents related to the government's data collection program in a case involving Internet giant Yahoo!

Apple releases details on US data requests

Jun 17, 2013

US tech giant Apple revealed on Monday it received between 4,000 and 5,000 data requests in six months from US authorities, days after Facebook and Microsoft released similar information.

Web giants get broader surveillance revelations

Jun 15, 2013

Facebook and Microsoft Corp. representatives said Friday night that after negotiations with national security officials their companies have been given permission to make new but still very limited revelations ...

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

13 hours ago

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 0