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107

Microsoft responds to NSA controversy: We're not spying on you

Microsoft Does Not Love PRISM

Earlier this year Microsoft and other tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook were accused of giving the government backdoor access to their systems. The program, in operation since 2007, is called PRISM and is operated by United States National Security Agency. Recent leaks by Edward Snowden revealed a relationship that has been in place for quite some time. Microsoft in particular has been singled out in regards to Skype communications allegedly being available to the government. All companies involved have denied giving the government direct access.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft goes on the offensive and responds to the issue around government demands for your data. Here is what is currently going down.

Companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook all know quite a bit about you. Right now everything we know about how these companies work with the government is based off of leaked slides and insider information. If you’ve been following the news you’ll know that all of this is terrible press for any company involved and they’ve been quick to distance themselves from accusations regarding your data. However, they haven’t been able to really tell us much about the program beyond vague PR speak. It could be because the government is stopping them.

On June 19, Microsoft filed a petition in court to obtain permission to publish the volume of national security requests they’ve received. But the Government and lawyers representing the government have yet to respond to the request. A request that would give information to the public that Microsoft believes is guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution. Today they’ve asked the Attorney General of the United States to personally take action to allow both Microsoft and others to share information around the issue.

The following is what Microsoft can currently (and apparently legally) tell us at the moment surround various properties involved with accusations. What has been reported so far by the media (again, from inside sources) is apparently inaccurate according to Microsoft.

 

Outlook

Outlook / Hotmail

Microsoft does not provide the government with direct access to emails or instant messages. They only turn over content for specific accounts according to lawful demands from governments. This applies to both the United States and any country that Microsoft stores data. They receive demands, review them, and if needed will comply. They provide no technical capability for governments to access your data.

SkyDrive

Same situation with Outlook applies for SkyDrive. There is not direct government access, instead if they want data they must request it in manners consistent with the law.

Skype Calls

No, the record is not on repeat, but Microsoft treats your data fairly similar across the board. If a government wants your Skype data they must request it within lawful means. Last year Skype started the transition to thousands of Linux boxes to act as the supernode. That move was not in response to giving the Government easier access to your calls, messages, or other data.

Enterprise Email and Document Storage

If Microsoft receives a request from a government for data held by a business customer they take the necessary steps to redirect them to the customer directly. Again, following only legal paths and not giving direct access to any government.

Here are the bulletin points that Microsoft outlined that they want you to take home with their message.

  • Microsoft does not provide any government with direct and unfettered access to our customer’s data. Microsoft only pulls and then provides the specific data mandated by the relevant legal demand.
  • If a government wants customer data – including for national security purposes – it needs to follow applicable legal process, meaning it must serve us with a court order for content or subpoena for account information.
  • We only respond to requests for specific accounts and identifiers. There is no blanket or indiscriminate access to Microsoft’s customer data. The aggregate data we have been able to publish shows clearly that only a tiny fraction – fractions of a percent – of our customers have ever been subject to a government demand related to criminal law or national security.
  • All of these requests are explicitly reviewed by Microsoft’s compliance team, who ensure the request are valid, reject those that are not, and make sure we only provide the data specified in the order. While we are obligated to comply, we continue to manage the compliance process by keeping track of the orders received, ensuring they are valid, and disclosing only the data covered by the order.

This is going to be a situation of “he said, she said” for quite some time between all these companies and the NSA. What’s your take on all this? Does this official response from Microsoft calm your fears a little? Who is ultimately responsible here? Microsoft or the NSA? Sound off below. 

Source: Microsoft

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Comments

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sasukeluffy says:

Meanwhile in Finland: What NSA, what spying?

Kormiko says:

NASA?

They are spying on Finland from Mars?

EDIT: Awww... you fixed it...

sasukeluffy says:

Ahaha :P I always mix them cause in Finland they are not so famous :p

Kormiko says:

I'm half Finnish, so I forgive you...  ;)

Nik Rolls says:

Microsoft's rules of conduct here relate worldwide, not just the NSA. Note they say 'a government', not 'the government'. If the Finnish government had a lawful reason to see your data and had followed the correct processes to gain a warrant (according to local law, not US law) then Microsoft will be forced to share it. Those processes are lengthy and complicated however, and it looks like Microsoft is also trying to keep everyone honest.

I'm not sure how the laws work if the US government wanted access to data on a Finnish (or other non-US) account, but I suspect they would also have to follow the processes according to the country on the account. Which brings in another aspect: does the country on your account affect which laws you are governed by?

astraith says:

And to be even more specific, they will only give info if they have data in said government. So, if North Korea wants info too bad so sad.

stephen_az says:

If this is meant to imply the Finnish government does not spy on its citizens, and you really beleive that, I have some swamp land you may want to buy. One would have to be very naive or seriously delusional to think that is true. As a rule, US laws regarding privacy rights are better than those really in place in Europe. Sorry to burst your bubble.....

sasukeluffy says:

Calm down, calm down, it wasn't supposed to mean that much, it was just like that in Finland you don't hear anything about things like that..

Ofcourse they say this. And ofcourse do they spy. All bullshit, just like all the other mayor companies. Fanboy or not, just admit it. 

thevorlon says:

No.  Finch created ECHELON, not this minor pittance...

cruelvaldez says:

Yes, as much as I would like to believe this, I know they do it, just as every other major tech company. I've got nothing to hide, though.

link68759 says:

"when someone says they have nothing to hide, what they're actually saying is, 'I've done nothing wrong therefore I don't need rights'".

http://theartofprivacy.com/2011/02/02/why-ive-got-nothing-to-hide-is-suc...

pauljwells says:

EXACTLY! It amazes me that peole think always in terms of their government being even nominally democratic. Imagine if another Hitler, Stalin or for that matter Bonaparte or Henry VII were to gain control of a modern, internet-connected country. The horrors imagined by Huxley and Orwell would be nothing compared to what could be unleashed. Internet privacy is the most important battleground for individual liberty since Magna Carta.
 

bschiav says:

Paranoid much?  How about this then, "I would gladly give up the right to internet privacy in return for increased National Security".  I'm cool with that...if we're all honest and we know that's what it's used for.  Even if there were no government calls for internet data, you'd be a fool to think your "internet activity" was private and safe.  If it's supposed to be private...it probably shouldn't go down over the internet...just a thought...
You would need a very very very large army and a large portion of "the people" to be incapacitated to actually replace the democracy of the US....it just doesn't work like the good old days of Henry VII.
...And let's face it...it won't be Henry VII....we're talking Henry the XV at a minimum here, that dude is beyond old.

KoreyTM says:

Really good quote here.

Seems like now we have Microsoft's side of the story which is the polar opposite of the leaked info. In today's climate, there are plenty of questionable, back room deals happening between companies and governments that the public will never know about. To say this isn't the case is simply ignorance. And more and more people are realizing this fact, which is beneficial to the world as a whole to have a larger public perception of how things are really working.

How involved is Microsoft with the NSA? At this point it's anyone's idea, so the only thing one can do is take the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

Kellzea says:

Its also wildly stupid to believe the word of one man, against that of various governments and companies without evidence.

jhoff80 says:

Even with this, people are going to read into it what they want to see, so it'd be nice if the government did change their minds on Microsoft, Google, et al releasing the relevant data.

Personally, I think a lot of the technical details in the articles about the leaks have been confused in a way that pushes a certain agenda.
 
Obviously of course, I could be wrong.  Not many people know the actual truth here.

sholokov says:

As soon as anybody has any take on this...

Kadcidxa says:

I dont believe anything this idiot Edward Snowden is releasing. I hope he gets caught.

aitt says:

Someone who is not believe able would not need to run nor be wanted for espionage.

Supposedly he had over 700(?) documents he stole. The PRISM documents were probably the least of their [the US] worries, thus why hes wanted for espionage. Another article i read said he got his job within the government just to leak documents, meaning he willfully broke the law and stole documents with the intent of releasing them. If he just so happened to stumble across the documents is one thing, but getting a government job just too steal documents to leak? I can understand why the US is wanting him for espionage.

the articles i read may be inaccurate or over exaggerated, but if not, :P

MobileVortex says:

What makes you not believe anything the "idiot" says?

SaucePolicy says:

I know you're just trolling but what makes you so credible? Not even the government has denied that what he released is accurate.

Believe, Snowden didn't accumulate all that data without someone else knowing about it. One time I copied some confidential information from my employer's database and the IT was all over me in seconds. I did have time to paste. IT called a coworker and asked him what I was doing and he immediately call me in a panic. That's how I escaped.

Niavlys77 says:

I always laugh at how people are so worried about companies spying on them. My first thought is - what exactly do you have to hide?
 
I couldn't care less about it all, and I'm completely happy accepting these points as facts about how Microsoft can give the government legally requested data.
 
Nice article.

adrian1338 says:

What i have to hide is my freedom. If you want to give it away go ahead. Don't blame the ones that still want to keep a little freedom. You clearly are brainwashed enough already with all that..what do u have to hide bullshit. Why do you not tell us all ur real address and name.

banghaymo says:

What freedom? You lost your freedom by being online. hurrrduurr I want my freedom!! You got a phone? You got internet? you live in USA? There, no freedom! face it! 
Anyways you do keep your privacy using any online service until the feds think you are a risk to the nation. In case you do plan to be a risk stick to pigeons and throw away sim cards.

adrian1338 says:

There is difference between observation after a suspicion and global data farming..but u will learn one day. And hey..welcome to globalization..

banghaymo says:

But as Microsoft says, they don't hand data over with a snap of the finger, they require a legitimate legal reason first. 
Plus data farming is done by the government, not the tech companies. 
There simply ain't a reasonable ground to accuse a tech company of wrongdoing. But do accuse Google of tracking your interwebs habbits to sell to advertisers. That's one thing that I believe is wrong.

NightWatch71 says:

"..you live in USA? there is no freedom" This should tell a lot about what happened with image of the USA over the years. It's just sad and I'm not even American.

Niavlys77 says:

Haha always fun to read these conspiracy theorist comments too. "Oh noo, we're all so brainwashed by the government durrr!"
Really? Freedom? Are you kidding me? What freedom are you losing here? The government already knows my name and address. So does any company that I have an actual profile under. Now what? Are they going to find out my credit card number and buy a satelite with it!? Are they gonna know what games I'm playing because of the forums I post on!? Oh nooooo!
Seriously, it's pathetic that people think this way.

uopjo6 says:

Welcome to new eras and changes. People just have to live with it. If NSA doesn't release it to the world its not much of a difference.
They're not doing this to piss you off in the first place.

icyrock1 says:

That's the wrong way to look at this. "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about" is flawed logic. Why should I have to give up my right to privacy? Would you let me into your home to look around if I thought you took something from me because you have "nothing" to hide and I demanded to see every inch of your home? Of course not, because it's an invasion of privacy. The same thing applies here.

Niavlys77 says:

No. The same thing does not apply.

Having someone know all your internet details is an entirely different thing than someone knowing every inch of your home. Unless of course you're a moron and put EVERYTHING online. People should know that anything on the internet is fair game - privacy doesn't exist on the internet. Internet is made to do the exact opposite - it's here to connect everyone and to share things. You limit what you put here.

If you really valued your online privacy that much, you would simply not use the internet, or at least limit what you put online. If you really valued your privacy in real life, you put up fences, get alarms systems, and a big dog.

There's a HUGE difference here.

icyrock1 says:

"No. The same thing does not apply."
 
Yes, they do.

 
"Having someone know all your internet details is an entirely different thing than someone knowing every inch of your home. Unless of course you're a moron and put EVERYTHING online. People should know that anything on the internet is fair game - privacy doesn't exist on the internet. "
 
First off, your assuming 
1. That the internet ISN'T woven into the very fabric of our lives. And it is. Try applying for classes at a college in person right now. You can't. It's all done online now. You have to use the internet (was an annoying fact I found out this year). The same applies to goverment grants and paper work (I know, I had to apply for them this year).
 
2. You're assuming you can be anonymous online. News flash; you can't. You can't be anonymous on the internet, given sites like facebook are tracking you even when you don't even use them.
 
3. You're assuming that everyone want's to give up there privacy, or want's big brother watch them. Guess what? They. Don't. 
 
"Internet is made to do the exact opposite - it's here to connect everyone and to share things. You limit what you put here."
 
To bad companies are saying "fuck that shit".
 
"If you really valued your online privacy that much, you would simply not use the internet, or at least limit what you put online. If you really valued your privacy in real life, you put up fences, get alarms systems, and a big dog."
 
This is the most naive shit i've heard in a while. IRL, you can do all of that to keep people out, but when the "real" world demands you use the internet to sign up for classes? Pay bills? How much do you honestly think you can avoid?
 
"There's a HUGE difference here."
 
Yeah, the difference is you CAN'T defend yourself online (privacy wise).

 

     

    Niavlys77 says:

    First, you're assuming that I'm assuming things - which sounds just as ridiculous as it is. Did you just pull those assumptions out of the air?
    Second - I don't think you get it. Do you really think you have no control over what you put online? The fact is - every single interaction with the internet WILL be tracked, regardless of anything. As I stated before - the internet is made connect everything, to make things available from almost anywhere. Here's another fact - it's YOU who's controlling your own navigation of the internet and it's YOU who's controlling what you put on the internet. If you can't control yourself and how you interact with the internet, your privacy was at risk from day one.
    Third - what the hell are you talking about? The internet is completely a luxury. You don't need email - phones still exist by the way. You don't need to pay bills online - again this is simply a luxury...go to the damn store/bank. Sign up for classes online? Yeah, if they're online classes! As if you can't go directly to a school to do the same thing!? You've got to be kidding me!
    Finally - this is exactly my point. You can't defend yourself online. The inherent nature of the internet is to negate privacy. To share, to connect. People need to stop thinking that they can magically cover everything up in a safe little bubble online. It's never going to happen.

    icyrock1 says:

     

      "First, you're assuming that I'm assuming things - which sounds just as ridiculous as it is. Did you just pull those assumptions out of the air?"
       
      http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/58-avoiding-the-issue

      "Second - I don't think you get it. Do you really think you have no control over what you put online? The fact is - every single interaction with the internet WILL be tracked, regardless of anything. "
       
      Because obvious you control what other's upload.to facebook (which, like it or not, DOES include information about you whether it be pictures that include you, people talking about you, or hell, even your family members signing up for a social network. Which, if there in the same household, they are now going to track that IP address to find out your browsing habits to delever you more relevent ads).
       
      And why the hell should it be? Why can't we have privacy? Why the hell do we have to give it up in your world? 
       
      "As I stated before - the internet is made connect everything, to make things available from almost anywhere. Here's another fact - it's YOU who's controlling your own navigation of the internet and it's YOU who's controlling what you put on the internet. If you can't control yourself and how you interact with the internet, your privacy was at risk from day one."
       
       
      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin
       
      You say I control what I put on the internet. Yet, that gives off the feeling that you believe that were the problem, not those who are doing the spying. How the hell does that make any sense? 
       
      When you say it's my fault for using the internet, and I shouldn't use it if I don't want to be tracked, since when was the internet a surveillance program? Since when was it made to watch everything we do? Because I know for damned sure it wasn't the intention when it was still the APERNET.
       
      "Third - what the hell are you talking about? The internet is completely a luxury. "
       
      Someone doesn't live in the USA, or if they do they haven't tried to sign up for higher education recently.
       
      "You don't need email - phones still exist by the way. "
       
      Yeah, because people totally use the phone part of there cellphone. /sarcasm
       
      I don't know a single person who's used the "phone" part of there phone in well over a month.
       
      "You don't need to pay bills online - again this is simply a luxury...go to the damn store/bank. "
       
      Again, these are dying mediums. Online services like paypal are soring in the USA. 
       
      "Sign up for classes online? Yeah, if they're online classes! As if you can't go directly to a school to do the same thing!? You've got to be kidding me!"
       
      I was just there a week ago. I shit you not, I couldn't sign up for classes with out using the internet (and this isn't a small school either, this is the biggest school in Nebraska, UNO). 

      "Finally - this is exactly my point. You can't defend yourself online. The inherent nature of the internet is to negate privacy. To share, to connect. "
       
      "To share, to connect"
       
      And, why the hell does one have to give up privacy to get this, has you put it, "luxury"? You're basically trying to defend big brother.
       
      "People need to stop thinking that they can magically cover everything up in a safe little bubble online. It's never going to happen."
       
      People need to stop thinking of Emails has less than actual letters. People need to start giving it the same right to privacy that there physical counterparts would get. 

       

      Niavlys77 says:

      1. Why do people expect privacy on a medium that demotes privacy?
      2. You're damn right I don't live in the USA, and I'm glad I can still sign up for College at an actual school if I wanted to. Choice is always nice.
      3. Not knowing a single person who's used the phone part of their phone in over a month is actually just kind of sad. Do you/they have no distant relatives who actually like to hear each other's voices?
      4. The internet IS a luxury. We pay for it for a reason. Doesn't it make life easier?
      5. Here's the thing: The Internet is made for convenience. No matter how you put it, if you want things easy and convenient, like on the internet, security is going to suck. If you want things locked down and completely secure, there will be very tedious processes to be done and things will be extremely inconvenient. This is the inherent problem with the internet, and anything in life for that matter. There's no way around it. Yes, you can find in betweens, but people will either complain that it's too insecure or it's too inconvenient.

      The internet is a public forum, personal privacy doesn't exist in public forums. It's like writing your name and address on the wall of a building and wanting no one to look at it.

      There is a difference between internet security, and internet privacy. If you don't want someone else to gave access to certain data them dont put it online, by putting it online you willingly accept the fact that it is not entirely private but may be secured from parties who shouldn't have access to it. If you think differently then you are extremely naive

      The internet is a public forum, personal privacy doesn't exist in public forums. It's like writing your name and address on the wall of a building and wanting no one to look at it.

      There is a difference between internet security, and internet privacy. If you don't want someone else to have access to certain data them dont put it online, by putting it online you willingly accept the fact that it is not entirely private but may be secured from parties who shouldn't have access to it. If you think differently then you are extremely naive

      Rockartisten says:

      They sure as hell seem to apply when someone hacks in to the NSA, so why not when the NSA hacks in to my Skydrive. Seriously dude!

      procen says:

      Good Logic!

      forked says:

      When you are on the side of the current set of thought police, then I guess you don't have anything to worry about.  
      But some day, a different set of thought police may be charge that may think that you deserve to be in jail for simply thinking the 'wrong' way about something (such as profiling a teenager that matches the description of the perpetrators of a recent string of burglaries, to use a completely fictional, random, non-specific example), then you might wish you hadn't been so willing to let govt bureaucrats have unfettered access to your information.

      link68759 says:

      "when someone says they have nothing to hide, what they're actually saying is, 'I've done nothing wrong therefore I don't need rights'".

      http://theartofprivacy.com/2011/02/02/why-ive-got-nothing-to-hide-is-suc...

      esackbauer says:

      I learned as I am working for a telco in a european country that you need to store all relevant connection data (not content) for at least 6 months. Government has quite an SLA, so that you need to hand over the demanded data in 15 minutes after the request was placed, otherwise you get a hefty fine. There is simply no time to review the request.

      dubnukem says:

      Who is responsible? The NSA. Does it matter at all if Microsoft says this? I don't think so. If they don't get it from Microsoft, they will get it by snooping your connection.
      It doesn't help to get angry at companies. Get angry at the government. They are the ones demanding Orwellian control.

      As long as it is America that's doing the spying, or does it in the name of "freedom" I suppose everything must be alright.
      Americans are the most gullible and brainwashed people on earth.

      Hykyba says:

      Riiiiiiiiiiight.

      Sam Sabri says:

      I was ready to delete this comment because I just assumed you were linking to some fishy site. But you're actually linking to Wikipedia's entry on Billionaire. I'm so confused. 

      theefman says:

      Funny how Microsoft seems to be the one getting extra scrutiny while the darlings of data, google are hardly mentioned.

      Didn't Microsoft make big claims about how they value our privacy in those Scroogle ads?

      Sad to see our world is turning like this.

      someoneinwa says:

      I won't condemn Edward Snowden, though I certainly won't praise him either. I do fault the Guardian and Glenn Greenwald for being more interested in the scoop than the facts. He (and the Washington Post) were already found to have misunderstood and/or exaggereated what those first documents really showed. Now he is writing a new series of accusations without providing any access to the documentation at all. Perhaps this is because he is exaggerating for effect again or perhaps he just knows that because Microsoft is restricted by the US Government in what it can say, that he doesn't even need to show his proof. Shows us the documents Glenn. Otherwise, I have to suspect you've misread something again or filled in the blanks with your imagination.

      blackprince says:

      When wikileaks gets the documents for all to read then I'll believe it more.

      I'm a fan of the Constitution/ Bill of Rights, we need less government intrusion. I just closed a bank account due to them violating my 4th amendment right. Bank of America? Right. Fractional Reserve Banking more like it.

      stormhit says:

      I feel like the NSA slides the Guardian has been releasing read like beginners "Idiot Guides" more than technical manuals that actually explain how anything mentioned in them works. There's been a lot of assumptions going on in their reporting because of that.

      danWP7allday says:

      I've gotta say, i don't give a damn anymore... At the end of the day, we're only on this planet for a little while. Let's just enjoy it. If governments want to spy on us, go ahead, knock yourselves out. Only Jesus can judge me.

      MorganRW says:

      People who think THIS is the device that will spy on them are so silly. Everyone gets spied on every damn day. That is unless you dont work, only use cash, never touch a computer, never touch a cell phone, never make a phone call, or enter any public space. If you live in a hole in the mountains then congrats, nobody can spy on you.... or are they?????
       
      Seriously if someone is doing something that the NSA would arrest them for, then I say spy and wiretap the s**t out of them. Am I alone on this? They can tap me all they want but they will be very very bored.

      banghaymo says:

      If you live in a hole in the mountains then congrats, nobody can spy on you.... or are they?????

      Lol that's funny xD
      anyways, well said, some people on the internet are so tinfoiled. They are on the internet, they sign up to the forums [with their internet address] they browse mobile blogging sites [which very likely means they have phones] and then they comment on articles saying "Yep, don't like Microsoft, I want to keep my privacy" WHAAAT??? You lost it all by being here dammit!

      John20212 says:

      If a legal request for customer data is made Microsoft or any other company that holds that data should be required to inform that customer of that request and allow the customer to appeal any data requests before a court.
      Why is the customer left in the dark and Microsoft is allowed to share his/her data even if legally requested without having to inform the customer of such a request?
       

      blackprince says:

      Because the that customers has a chance to delete or change any behavior/data that could be used against them sand therefore defeats the purpose of law enforcement trying to get this access. This will never happen.

      Two things:
      1. From what I understand, from reading about this issue, Microsoft (and other tech companies) are legally obligated to issue denials.  They can't admit to creating 'backdoors' for government snoops, or they'd be subject to severe repercussions for their business.
      2. Technically, Microsoft *isn't* spying on anyone.......but they allow the NSA to.   It's semantics, and splitting hairs, but 'true' in a literal sense.

      theavrgjoe says:

      Everyone needs to read George Orwell's "1984," as well as "Animal Farm;" then they will realize just how absurdly wrong Obama, his administration and the NSA have treated all of us (American citizens). Everyone involved should be imprisoned and treated as the terrorists they have shown themselves to be.

      mondokjm says:

      Yes, curse Obama for starting this program in 2007.

      Jazmac says:

      I believe Google gives it away for government favors.

      WiNGSPANTT says:

      This response is meaningless because it feels the NSA can request "all the accounts" as the "specific accounts" to pull data from. I'd like to know how many or what percent of accounts have been compromised.

      dwanefahrell says:

      Meanwhile in Russia: What security are you talking about?

      phatboy66 says:

      Some ppl just don't get it! It's not about having nothing to hide. If you have nothing to hide, why don't you open the door of your house and every windows at night? Every citizen has a right to privacy.

      All the top MAJOR corporation spy on its users and gives backdoor access to the FBI, NSA and others. This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody

      Also, all these companies, like Microsoft, Facebook and Google, are a bit on edge and slightly nervous.
       
      The thing is, Web 2.0 services, social networks and others involving online sharing, are highly dependent on trust, and once a seed of doubt is sown amongst the population, they will avert using said services, impacting the businesses in question.

      Rockartisten says:

      All the commenters saying "I have nothing to hide, who cares" are so shortsided. This may not affect you directly, but indirectly. Why should US organizations have this kind of power? War on terror? What a load of bull****.

      blackprince says:

      To help prevent future Boston bombings, Colorado theatre shootings, underage children lured online for sex, 9/11's, and countless other things that are much more dangerous then the government watching your online life.

      Rockartisten says:

      As I said. War on terror is bull**** propaganda.

      jdawgnoonan says:

      Undoubtably the NSA has the explaining to do. Likely they are scraping the entire internet and getting all of the data that they want without the help of Microsoft or any other company. And, quite earilie, Americans have been propagandized with so much exaggerated fear mongering that many,if not most, are willing to sacrifice things that made our country unique and good. Meanwhile, the NSA is risking sacrificing the very companies that keep our economy going. The NSA is the national security threat.

      Rockartisten says:

      A question I ask myself. How many people within the companies need to know about this for the NSA to be given access? Is it enough to bribe, threaten a few engineers with deep access within the companies? These are things most of us have no idea how it works. Does it have to be Ballmer in bed with the NSA? Can it be the NSA having employees within the companies?

      blackprince says:

      Americans have had the conversations watched ever since the telegraph. The internet has only made it easier and more widespread. Freedom is an illusion in any country.

      Rockartisten says:

      But it should not be legal, that is the difference. If they are cought they shoud be trialed and locked up for life.

      kiddori says:

      Would you like to have someone always following you around, constantly taking notes of everyone you speak to, how often you talk to them, who you visit, what you say, where you go, etc? Just because you can't see what the NSA is doing, doesn't mean it's ok. You are still being stalked. So much for preaching civil rights when ones own are being abused.

      KelvBlue says:

      LOL. People are constantly checking in their FB of the location, places. Posting what they are eating breakfast, lunch, dinner.  Pretty much what you mentioned can all be found through the FB.

      Thamuz says:

      That's not the point though. If I put information on Facebook, I realize it becomes fair game, that's the nature of the social media game. But there's a huge difference between something you shared with the world yourself and something you shared with someone in confidence in a private email or Skype conversation.

      HarisA1 says:

      Yall should go to the Whitehouse and protest about this garbage nobody got time to type paragraphs of BS

      cowboy620 says:

      But they still can't get the guy who leaked the info to begin with. He's still in Russia @ an Airport looking for asylum love it.

      Rockartisten says:

      If the world wasn't watching he would probably have been killed by now.

      cowboy620 says:

      Yes your right. I don't care they can watch all my moves in a tech who builds and repairs computers they won't find me doing anything wrong. I'm so connected with msft it not funny as well as WD and Seagate LOL.

      Its alright guys, be good little robots. Believe everything you see and conform to society.

      SaucePolicy says:

      Keyword "direct access"

      James Allatt says:

      for me story's like this are getting old. we live in a connected world and if someone wanted to find things out about you then they can. I don't get what peoples problems are. they are not out to get the every day person they want to get law breakers ect. it helps bring crime down then im all for it. we walk down the street and we are on cctv our mobiles track where we go ect its now part of day to day life and as long as they don't get daft with how they read our information im fine with it plus how many people use facebook and check in in shops, citys, airports ect so a lot of people already tell the world what they are doing from day to day.

      Microsoft is CONSTANTLY issuing updates to security flaws in Windows and other products, because there are LOTS of hackers out there determined to exploit users in any way they can. Every hole found produces yet another attack vector for those attackers, and attackers are constantly finding new ways in. And yet, very basic, public security checks and packet traces can be used to scan your computer and easily demonstrate that no extraneous data is coming in/out of it unless you are running specific apps. There's absolutely no way the NSA has direct access to your systems... we (and by we, I mean the tech industry as a whole) would have discovered that long long long ago.
       
      Now, once that legitimate data leaves your computer and goes out to the Internet to its destinations, no, we have no idea what that data filters though. That's true... we have only the company's word that it's secure and private. But...
       
      If we think it's bad that hackers are trying to attack individuals... you have to understand they are attacking the corporations processing all this data in the worst ways possible, and it's the company's role to protect THEIR OWN systems much the same as we protect ours.
       
      As an IT guy, I find it embarassing to think that people genuinely believe that these hackers are stupid. They most certainly would have found these holes already, and holes of backdoor government access magnitude, well... they would have been publicized a long time ago. I mean, good grief, irresponsible Google engineers publicly reveal trivial security holes in Windows all the time. There are competitions and conferences held in which the winners generally win within seconds and minutes, so just imagine what they find when you give them days, weeks, months, and years.
       
      Now having said that, I would like to remind everyone that it's not a company's fault that Uncle Sam or any other government is doing something they ought not be doing. It is ALWAYS the government's fault. Place your blame and your anger there first.

      jhoff80 says:

      But OMG, _NSAKEY!!!!11!1
       
      /s

      Actually, that's the dumbest part about this... everyone assumes there's some encryption keys being handed out to the NSA by the companies. Seriously?! Really?! Because we don't think that the NSA has hired some brilliant cryptologists to create their own keys or that they somehow lack the computing power required to break an encryption string? "Bitch, please!" lol

      astraith says:

      There is only one reason why the government wouldn't want this info to be released. That reason is they want everyone to think that they spy on us all. That way bad guys can't find out ways to hide their information. However, anyone living in a world of all this technology and thinks the government isn't spying on us is crazy.

      Talbot690 says:

      I want area 51 alien proof!!! Documents, pictures. Dammit Snowden where's my proof!!

      alijahg34 says:

      This is why the cold war was needed....the space race was an accuse to track your person smartphones for dumb users

      Viipottaja says:

      I had no worries to begin with. Good to see MS clarifying and correcting some of the typical misinformation out there.

      I have no problems with MS, but a problem with the NSA doing large scale industrial espionage and helping US banks with inside trading.

      maloo78 says:

      I personally think that if the government wants to know everything about you, they have the means to do so (and quickly). The internet just makes it more easy. In the past they had to use paper trails and people, today they hack accounts.
      But don't confuse two things here. Privacy on the web does not refer to things you share "publicly" by commenting on articles, blogs, checking-in to locations or sharing things on social sites to the public. The things that are in question here, are that the government is said to access data which was not meant to be shared with everyone, like: Skydrive data, Facebook private shares (or only with your friends), emails, phone records. These posts or files are subject to privacy regulations by the individual operator, be it Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google etc. The legal way to access this data, obviously is having a reason or suspicion, filing for access, receiving the data from the company and reviewing it.
      The truth probably is in the grays as always. Microsoft & Co might not always have to time to speedily process every request, and might just put a general agreement with PRISM in place - which would be a violation of their privacy agreements and unlawful. This would have to be proven. Alternatively, PRISM HACKS into sites and takes data without consent, but the site operator is not able to counter it (or has no interest in doing so).
      As always: if you don't want to risk someone accessing your files easily, don't put them in a cloud storage. Don't post on Facebook if you do not want something to be known about you. But even then, IF a government REALLY wanted to know, they can listen to your home phone, hack your mobile phone signal, follow you with a mic etc.
      Also true, the government does not want to know if I love dogs or cats, wether I'm gay or not, overweight or not, of if I am a supporter of the war in Afghanistan. The search for flagged keywords. If those pop up, the data will be collected, analysed and if useless, discarded.
      Nowadays knowledge is power, and power corrupts. So I do firmly believe that all governments spy in the same way on their people. But they also have massive amounts of data to survey - nobody will ever remember that you insulted your best friend on Facebook last summer.... You are not that important.

      Karanstyle says:

      Had a great time thanks MSN aka Outlook, SkyDrive & Specially Skype.. Bye bye Going for Apple next. BB, Android(sell private details) &now WP8 too shares details somehow.

      Aryan Angel says:

      merica, fuck yeah!

      TwinBitz says:

      I don't have anything to hide so I never have worried, besides google already reads email what's the difference. I love MS for doing the right thing!

      saulgould13 says:

      No Such Agency..

      starblade876 says:

      The people who are all fearful about privacy leaks and whatever conspiracy theories, need to create their own internet and services or just STFU&GTFO with that noise. If you're that scared about someone seeing what you're doing, don't use anything that's not yours (programs/apps, internet connections, etc.). Seriously, it's like wanting person A to tell person B something, but have person A not to hear what you want person B to hear. If you're that scared of big companies invading your privacy, get off the internet and live off the grid; lots of people have done it.

      Blau34 says:

      http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/nsa-affaere-jimmy-carter-kritisiert-usa-a-911589.html
       
      Use a translator :) This is what poeple here in Germany think about USA. And this is what they think about US Companys now.