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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.

Topic: privacy

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December 23, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Ireland weighs in on Microsoft email privacy case

The roster of folks speaking up about Microsoft’s closely watched data privacy court case now includes a government.

Ireland on Tuesday filed court papers backing elements of Microsoft’s appeal of a U.S. court order that the company turn over emails stored in a Dublin data center.

The case stems from a warrant a U.S. judge signed last December ordering Microsoft to turn over the contents of an email account. Microsoft challenged the order, arguing that because the underlying email data was stored in a data center in Ireland, U.S. prosecutors lacked the power to demand those documents.

The government, Microsoft said, should instead ask Irish officials for help retrieving the data under the terms of an existing legal assistance treaty.


Comments | More in Public policy & issues | Topics: microsoft, privacy

December 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Amazon, HP, eBay join Microsoft bandwagon in warrant case

As extensively telegraphed by Microsoft, the company’s cast of supporters in its legal fight over a warrant seeking a customer’s emails just got a whole lot bigger.

Microsoft was joined by as well as Silicon Valley stalwarts Hewlett-Packard and eBay. Apple, AT&T,  Cisco and Verizion, which all supported Microsoft in its lower court case, also weighed in again.

Google, a leader in the cloud-computing realm along with Microsoft and, was among the notable technology companies that haven’t weighed in.

Microsoft in December 2013 was ordered by a federal judge in New York to turn over a user’s emails. Microsoft, finding the emails were stored in its Irish data center, refused, setting off the court case now awaiting a hearing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Comments | More in | Topics: amazon, google, microsoft

December 15, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Microsoft set to tout support in Ireland email warrant case

Microsoft this morning is going to broadcast the level of support it’s receiving in an email privacy court case. Literally.

The company’s general counsel, Brad Smith, is hosting a webcast event at Microsoft’s Times Square offices starting at 8 a.m. Pacific time. The panel, moderated by former ABC news anchor Charlie Gibson, is slated to feature other figures from trade and advocacy groups representing the tech industry, civil liberties and press freedoms.

The webcast will be accessible from Microsoft’s news site. Its worth keeping tabs on the site Microsoft rolled out as a sort of document depository for the case.  


Comments | More in | Topics: brad smith, microsoft, privacy

November 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Microsoft, tech giants urge Senate to curb government data collection

Corrected version Microsoft and a roster of tech heavy-hitters have asked the U.S. Senate to pass a bill curbing the National Security Agency’s powers to collect phone records, emails and other data in bulk. The bill, which could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as this week, also would allow companies like Microsoft to disclose the rough…


Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: edward snowden, government, national security agency

May 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Microsoft gets high marks for protecting customers’ data from government requests

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization in the forefront of fighting for digital civil rights, issues an annual “Who Has Your Back” report on tech companies’ privacy policies.

In its latest report, it ranked Microsoft among the top companies in protecting customers’ data from government requests.


Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: eff, electronic frontier foundation, privacy

April 15, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Brad Smith, Rep. Suzan DelBene, and ACLU rep discuss NSA and privacy

Reining in the National Security Agency, keeping laws and civil rights protections up to date with the digital era, and the tension between national security and personal privacy were among the topics of a panel discussion held this morning at the University of Washington School of Law.

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel; and Gabe Rottman, national office legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, participated in the panel moderated by UW Law Professor William Covington.


Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: nsa, privacy

March 28, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Microsoft: From now on, we won’t snoop into your email even if we think you’re stealing from us

Microsoft took a lot of criticism last week after it was revealed that the company looked at the email content of one of its customers in the course of tracking down someone suspected of stealing trade secrets from the company.

Now Microsoft is changing its policy, saying that, in such circumstances, it will call in law enforcement to inspect a customer’s content, rather than doing so itself.


Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: alex kibkalo, brad smith, privacy