Microsoft Pushes Back On Spying


Microsoft rolled out new plans to push back against government spying today in a detailed blog post staying how it plans to encrypt data and challenge government requests.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel called government spying an “advanced persistent threat,” lumping the NSA in with groups of pernicious hackers common to cybersecurity planning. The company said it was alarmed to find out that Microsoft-owned technologies and services were the target of NSA spying efforts.

In light of recent revelations, Microsoft says it plans to add to existing encryption efforts, reinforce legal protections for customers’ data, and enhancing the transparency of their source code to show that they do not allow back doors for snooping. Going forward, the company says, it will let users and businesses know when they have received a request for their data from the government, and “assert available jurisdictional objections to legal demands when governments seek this type of customer content that is stored in another country.”

“Except in the most limited circumstances, we believe that government agencies can go directly to business customers or government customers for information or data about one of their employees – just as they did before these customers moved to the cloud – without undermining their investigation or national security. And when those limited circumstances arise, courts should have the opportunity to review the question and issue a decision,” Smith writes.

Microsoft is also launching a new Cybercrime Center for security researchers to work alongside Microsoft’s own and craft better defenses. That research center will be located in Microsoft’s headquarters.