Microsoft, one of the world’s largest technology companies with over 1 million servers in its data center, is seeking to reveal the specific process of handing over private data to the NSA. Mass online protests have erupted consisting of millions of individuals and businesses demanding Microsoft paint a clear picture on the guidelines of this process.
Microsoft responded Tuesday to what they called erroneous media reports regarding documents that claimed they worked closely with the NSA in helping them obtain private data by deliberately bypassing their own encryption. The document further depicts a scarier scene, one that includes Microsoft’s ability to provide access to US intelligence agencies to its cloud storage service SkyDrive (250 million users), Hotmail (420 million users) and Skype (280 million users) with relative ease. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith is now urging the US government to allow them to clarify their exact relationship with the NSA in order to settle additional client concerns.
Smith further stated in a formal letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder that “the Constitution itself is suffering,” and adding in a separate blog post that the “U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the Government is stopping us.”
To further allay public concerns, a post from Smith also stated that “we do not provide any government with direct access to emails or instant messages. Full stop. Like all providers of communications services, we are sometimes obligated to comply with lawful demands from governments to turn over content for specific accounts, pursuant to a search warrant or court order.”
No word on how this situation will play out however with major technology companies coming under fire from millions of clients, the US government and their counterparts in the private sector will need to find a resolution.