Microsoft assures international business customers on spying

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Dec 5, 2013 5:49pm EST

Members of the media take pictures of Surface 2 tablets during the launch of the Microsoft Surface 2 tablets in New York September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Members of the media take pictures of Surface 2 tablets during the launch of the Microsoft Surface 2 tablets in New York September 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp pledged late Wednesday to fight in court any attempt by U.S. intelligence agencies to seize its foreign business customers' data under American surveillance laws, one of a series of steps aimed at reassuring nervous users abroad.

The maker of the world's most popular computer operating system said it had never turned over any such data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and did not believe that authorities are entitled to the information if it is stored abroad.

"We are committing contractually to not turning it over without litigating that issue," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in an interview.

However, Microsoft has turned over data on non-U.S.-based individuals using its email and other services, as required under FISA laws. Microsoft and other companies are suing the government for the right to disclose how frequently that happens.

Smith also said that Microsoft would dramatically increase the amount of encryption it uses for internal traffic, following similar moves by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc in the wake of reports that the National Security Agency had tapped into their facilities overseas without oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Smith said Microsoft was caught by surprise by reports in The Washington Post, based on documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden, that the NSA had successfully penetrated the other companies and perhaps targeted it as well.

"That really was like an earthquake sending shock waves through our industry," Smith said. Past discussions with federal officials, he said, have always been based on working out what the law required, without any hint that the company might be subjected to attacks based on "technological brute force" instead of legal process.

Addressing another concern, a spokeswoman said the company did not believe it could be ordered to install spyware on a user's machine and that Microsoft would fight any such directive in court.

Microsoft said it would encrypt consumer data that it stores and would work with other email providers to make sure that messages stay secure when they move from a service such as Microsoft's Outlook.com, formerly Hotmail, to another, such as those from Google or Yahoo.

Microsoft said it would also expand the use of regional centers that allow governments worried about U.S. "back doors" in its software to inspect the source code.

The technical measures will move Microsoft close to parity with other major Internet companies in their protections for consumers.

In the cloud business, which provides remote storage and computing power for companies, Microsoft's top rival is Amazon.com Inc. An Amazon Web Services spokeswoman said her employer, like Microsoft, provides tools to help cloud customers encrypt their sensitive data and warns them if legal papers have been served seeking access.

She said she did not know whether papers presented under the intelligence laws, which are secret, had been used to obtain data about international customers.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by Ken Wills and Richard Chang)

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Comments (1)
dahetherly wrote:
Microsoft and Bill Gates are not to be trusted. They are members of the New World Order, (Controlled and Manipulated by Fallen Angels), and their policy is; miss-inform, miss-direct, miss-state data, falsify data, lie, cheat and when they feel it is necessary or enjoyable, kill. The New Windows 8 and Office 2013 are Big Brother applications, for monitoring people’s activities. They are forcing you to go to the internet, whether you need this function or not, where they are making your data available to the unscrupulous New World Order who spy on all data and have spiders searching for words that will get you placed on a list to be exterminated. Microsoft is intentionally forcing everyone, as per ordered by the New World Order, to the internet for New World Order control of the masses and identification of people like me who know what they are and what they are planning for in the destruction of the United States and the World. The Financial condition of the world is in the condition that it is in because these evil people, the New World Order, want the economic destruction and social turmoil so that people are easily manipulated and oblivious to the need to unite as a one world people and combat this evil. The New World Order is intentionally destroying the financial markets and creating destruction and devastation around the world with their evil minions, who permeate every level of society and perform as puppets for these evil Satanic Secretive Sinister Evil Manipulators. When the financial crash comes, it will be after these Evil Manipulators crash the financial markets and people finally get fed up and start to demonstrate and riot, which will be the beginning of the end, as the New World Order has been waiting for this Social Unrest, and the New World Order people will begin arresting the public demonstrators and incarcerating them in the FEMA detention camps, which will be guaranteed death, as there will be no escaping from these prison and death camps. The New World order will bring in their savior, at this time, who is the Antichrist, and will usher in the beginning of the end. If it were not for the Creator, all would die, but intervention will take place to save, the chosen of the Creator, and the final defeat of the Evil Fallen Angels led by Lucifer.
It is really funny that the people who have sold their souls to these Evil Fallen Angels are dealing with EVIL PERSONIFIED who’s policy is: miss-inform, miss-direct, miss-state data, falsify data, lie, cheat and when they feel it is necessary or enjoyable, kill. These Evil Beings will never change and once these Evil Beings take over, when will, those who have sold their souls to the Evil Beings, ever feel safe or secure from destruction and punishment for any little slight that these Evil Beings will feel they have committed? Glory is short lived but HELL CAN BE FOREVER.

Dec 05, 2013 9:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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