Information retrieved through ‘top-secret documents’.
In a interesting revelation by The Guardian, Microsoft shared user’s private information with USA’s intelligence agencies. According to the report Microsoft let NSA access Skype’s calls which includes both audio and video, Outlook emails and emails sent via Hotmail.
The intelligence agencies were able to access this data by using government’s secret Prism program which helped them retrieve the data stored on Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service.
This information was then shared to the FBI, CIA and the NSA. Skype surveillance began in February 2011 but at this time only audio could be monitored. Access to video was added in July 2012.
Microsoft responded to The Guardian’s report by stating, “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.”
Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of National Intelligence, and Judith Emmel, spokeswoman for the NSA further stated: “In practice, US companies put energy, focus and commitment into consistently protecting the privacy of their customers around the world, while meeting their obligations under the laws of the US and other countries in which they operate.””
In 2011 Microsoft had bought Skype for a whopping $8.5 billion and is currently used in many of its devices like Xbox 360 and the upcoming Xbox One.
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