Microsoft is staying committed to a promise made by their chief counsel Brad Smith a few months ago. Smith said the company would fight legal demands from U.S. authorities to turn over data stored in Microsoft computing hubs outside the country. The promise was made after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents that claimed Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others were complicit in helping the U.S. government spy on its citizens. Brad Smith today posted on WSJ that Microsoft will oppose the U.S. government at a hearing in federal court tomorrow in New York, arguing that it can’t force American tech companies to turn over customer emails stored exclusively in company data centers in other countries. Microsoft believes you own emails stored in the cloud, and that they have the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail. This means, in our view, that the U.S. government can obtain emails only subject to ...

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Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith today(Yes, on Saturday!) blogged about his views on recent ruling regarding consumer privacy by the US supreme court. It was the case of Riley v. California in which court ruled that warrantless searches cannot be extended to mobile devices and government agencies should get a warrant to search a device of the accused. Over time, privacy protection has advanced in key moments. These have involved judges and advocates who appreciated new technologies and found ways to ensure privacy prevailed in a changing world. This week’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California ranks with other key historical moments. More than in any other recent decision, the Supreme Court this week advanced privacy in a digital era characterized by ubiquitous computing. As a result, the scales of justice shifted in a profound way toward a new ideal of privacy in a digital ...

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Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Brad Smith spoke on the on going crisis related to data breach by US government. He said that the government to stop collecting bulk data from technology firms as people will lose trust in companies for storing their data in the cloud. “It needs to be well-designed regulation, it needs to be thoughtful, it needs to be balanced, but we cannot live in the Wild West when we’re talking about information that is this important to people,” he said. “I want law enforcement to do its job in an effective way pursuant to the rule of law,” he said. “If we can’t get to that world, then law enforcement is going to have a bleak future anyway.” He also said that online privacy will become more and more important as billion of new devices will ...

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Earlier this week, Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft blogged about need for the U.S. Government to address important privacy issues and others it has created. One year back, it was revealed that the US government did  surveillance of phone and Internet records, sometimes in partnership with others without any proper government orders. There were reports that the US government even hacked in to data centers of various companies to access data illegally as under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, users have a right to keep their email communications private.  Microsoft wants the following five things the U.S. government still needs to do: Recognize that U.S. search warrants end at U.S. borders: We’re concerned about governmental attempts to use search warrants to force companies to turn over the contents of non-U.S. customer communications that are stored exclusively outside the United States. The U.S. government ...

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A federal court has unsealed court documents stemming from Microsoft’s challenge to an FBI National Security Letter Microsoft recieved late last year. The FBI’s letter in this case sought information about an account belonging to a Microsoft enterprise customer. Like all National Security Letters, this one sought only basic subscriber information. Last December Microsoft committed “to notifying business and government customers when legal orders are related to their data. Where a gag order attempts to prohibit Microsoft from doing this, the company promised to challenge it in court. In this case, the Letter included a nondisclosure provision and the Redmond software giant moved forward to challenge it in court.  Microsoft’s legal counsel concluded that the nondisclosure provision was unlawful and violated our Constitutional right to free expression. The NDA did not allow Microsoft to notify enterprise customers when receive legal orders related to their data. The FBI withdrew its letter following the legal challenge. Microsoft’s chief legal counsel Brad Smith ...

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In the wake of the  Kibkalo/Canouna controversy Microsoft has made some fundamental privacy changes for Outlook.com (Hotmail) email accounts.  Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith gave us an update on the changes: Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves. Instead, we will refer the matter to law enforcement if further action is required. Google, Yahoo, and Apple have made no such changes to their privacy policies.  This is the right move for consumers and Microsoft should be applauded for making the changes.  That being said I think this “controversy” was taken way out of proportion and was twisted and sensationalized by the mainstream anti-Microsoft tech media. Source: Microsoft on the Issues ...

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I remember 2007 like it was yesterday when there was euphoria in the air around the concept of “hope and change.”  Fast forward six years, a sluggish economy has left many with just a little change in their pockets and one of America’s most successful corporations is condemning its own government as an “Advanced Persistent Threat.” Whistleblower Edward Joseph Snowden was an American computer specialist, a former CIA employee, and former NSA contractor who disclosed over 200,000 classified documents to journalists Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Details released from the cache have revolved primarily around the United States’ NSA mass surveillance program, named PRISM, and to a lesser extent, its counterparts such as the British GCHQ, Israel’s ISNU, the CSE in Canada, the ASIS in Australia and Norway’s NIS.  These leaks proved to be quite embarrassing for the US government and the program appears to be unconstitutional. The leaks have also been harmful to many US based corporations, Yahoo, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and many other who supposedly willingly ...

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