Guardian: Microsoft Handed Access To And Skype To NSA As Part Of PRISM


Guardian today reported that Microsoft handed the NSA access to unencrypted Skype and messages. It said that Microsoft  collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users communications to be intercepted. Microsoft responded to the allegations saying that they comply with US laws.

Here is Microsoft’s response,

We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues. First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes.

Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate.

Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.

Guardian’s access to internal documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in that allows users to create email aliases;

• Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

Read about it in detail from the link below.

Source: Guardian

  • Agosto Nuñez

    ¿am I the only one around here who thinks that safety is more important than privacy? Scroogle gives your personal information and your private chats, Google+ posts and e-mails to ANYONE who’s willing to pay, Microsoft was forced by the government ¿remember when they wanted to split it up into 2 companies, one for services and one for Windows? Well, I’m not a Terrorist and I’m neither a cyber-criminal, so I have nothing to hide, I don’t care if Obama reads my private e-mail, I don’t have any secrets that could harm the Americans in any way.

    People may not know this, but PRISM can just as well save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of terrorist-attacks all over those U.S. and now y’all have to complain because someone read how much you love ice-cream, or that you’re… well, I don’t know what you mail about, but if you’re not a terrorist nor a cyber-criminal you shouldn’t be so overly obsessed about your privacy.

    • krayziehustler

      This guy has common sense.

    • Absal

      well if u don’t care about your private life some of us do … hence why we call it “private” … things that I only share with my close ones should be accessed by anyone other than the ones I want … I’m assuming that you don’t lock your phone? or that you password to any account is Password?
      I understand the national security part of it but what’s next?? and this is what bugs me the most .. IF THEY CAN JUSTIFY IT SO EASILY THEN WHY DIDN’T THEY WENT PUBLIC WITH SUCH PROGRAM??

    • Sample

      Yet US is the biggest terrorist nation around! They bully other nations into their way and thinking

    • falconrap

      It’s because you aren’t American that you don’t understand. There is no greater threat to you than your own government. Many more lives (think over a hundred million) have been lost to governments that used information to cull the herds, so to speak. Enemies of governments across the world, such as Stalinist Russia, Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, et al, have been killed for various “offenses” to the state. The whole premise of the US Government is that it is supposed to be a government for, by, and of the people, not a tyrannical government that pries into our lives. Perhaps you have no problem with your most intimate writings, recordings, and/or photo’s being jerked off to by some “anal-yst” in DC, but most Americans do.

      Freedom comes at a cost. American’s have traditionally been willing to forgo the safety net for that freedom, and we’ve paid for that freedom with much blood. To have it taken away for information of marginal value, especially when the bad guys are usually flagged and can be warranted for their information, is absurd. Too many people think they have to give up their freedoms for a little safety, which is complete BS. Where does it stop? When the government controls when and what you eat? With whom you sleep with? Where, when, and what you spend your free time and money on? It’s a slope we are rapidly sliding down.

    • FateStayNight

      I’m not a cyber-criminal nor am I a terrorist. What I am is a non-U.S. citizen and PRISM does not have ANY right whatsoever to invade my privacy. If you’re good with your government checking your email messages and phone conversations then ok. But people of other countries will not stand for it unless they’re all for giving up their sovereignty and live as a de facto vassal state of the U.S.

      Let’s put this into perspective. What if google, microsoft, and facebook were all based in China or Russia and they had a government program that forces those companies to open backdoors for their spy programs, would you be ok with it?

  • Mythos88

    What ever happened to live free or die. The US has become a nation fearful, cowering sheep willing to give up all the freedom their predecessors so valiantly achieved.

  • jimski27

    Sorry, but if you use any Google service, or Facebook for that matter, you gave up your right to privacy long ago. The NSA could just scour the Internet and collect the same data, but it takes more time and effort. Most likely resulting in lost lives. As long as they don’t start using my credit cards, the NSA, along with any other agency in the world, can read my email, texts, etc. I have nothing to hide.

    • Novus

      Unfortunately, if their contractors do not use your credit card today, they’ll do it tomorrow. Snowden could have just decided to use your credit cards but he rather preferred to alert you of the danger of using Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Youtube, Skype, Apple, Microsoft, AOL etc…

      • Bugbog

        Actually, all Snowden has done is alert me to the fact that people like him can’t be trusted, rather than the governmental system which is doing the monitoring!

        HE is the one that, with access to the system for administration purposes only, is looking up people’s details and copying information wholesale!

        The same thing with the other Private, copying data wholesale and disseminating it without regard for context or applicability!

    • freeman

      Really then how do you scour anything I set as private in any of these services. That’s the point of privacy controls they cannot be scoured.

  • Novus

    This is called damage control. It has no meaning to me and I don’t trust those companies anymore. is the only search engine to be used and people should turn to private alternate networks for mail services.

    • freeman

      Duckduckgo uses external sources for search results including bing so scratch that idea.

  • blau34
  • Tim

    Microsoft says:
    ” When we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some
    circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide
    information in response to a law enforcement or national security

    No US laws nor the Constitution of the USA force Microsoft to allow various government entities to access personal data or to be able to circumvent encryption schemes used by Microsoft in their products!!!

    That Microsoft has basically given up consumers’ rights in favor of “the current Big Brother US government” and has allowed many backdoors even to its encryption schemes make Microsoft products completely unworthy to consumers!!!
    Consumers can certainly be now fully aware that anything Microsoft is basically in the hands of the government for them to access whenever they want or whenever they claim (falsely or not!!!) to be necessary!!!