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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

September 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Report: Former Microsoft privacy adviser says he doesn’t “trust Microsoft” after NSA revelations

Caspar Bowden, a former Microsoft chief privacy officer, said during a conference in Switzerland that he’s having a hard time trusting the company after news broke of the role that Microsoft and other tech companies played in the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance efforts.

That’s according to a story in The Guardian, which reports that Bowden was in charge of the privacy policy for many of the countries in which Microsoft operated, though not the U.S. Bowden worked for Microsoft from 2002 to 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The Guardian story, which says Bowden has not carried a mobile phone for the past few years and now uses only open source software, quotes him as saying, “I don’t trust Microsoft now.”

The report, which does not get into specifics of what Bowden doesn’t trust about Microsoft’s technology, quotes Bowden further about his distrust of the NSA’s broad surveillance power.

Microsoft sent a statement in response to that report, saying: “We believe greater transparency on the part of governments – including the US government — would help the community understand the facts and better debate these important issues.  That’s why we’ve taken a number of steps to try and secure permission, including filing legal action with the US government.”

Microsoft and other large tech companies have come under fire for their role in U.S. national security surveillance.

But the companies say they have  handed over customer data to the U.S. government only by court order or subpoena.

Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, added in a recent blog post that the company “does not provide any government with direct and unfettered access to our customer’s data,” that the company responds only to requests for specific accounts and identifiers, and that the company reviews all such requests.

Microsoft and several other tech companies also have petitioned the U.S. government to allow them to be more transparent about the national surveillance orders it gets under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The companies are forbidden from even disclosing specifically how many orders they get under FISA.

 

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: fisa, nsa

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