Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 11th Jul 2013 21:35 UTC
Microsoft Documents released by Snowden show the extent to which Microsoft helped the NSA and other security agencies in the US. "Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal; The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, 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; [...] 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'." Wow. Just wow.
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But why?
by WorknMan on Thu 11th Jul 2013 22:06 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Like any other publically traded corporation, Microsoft would only do something if one of two things are true:

1. They do it because it helps their bottom line
2. They do it because they are forced to

In this case, unless the government is paying them lots of money, I'd say the second one is probably true. Otherwise, what exactly does MS have to gain by handing over customer data to the government? Certainly not the good will of its users.

'But why would they make the process easier?' For the same reason that Google has put in place systems to make it easier for copyright holders to have content removed when it violates the DMCA. Whether or not they like the law, they still have to comply with it, so might as well streamline the process and make it less costly.

'But why don't they fight the government on this, and/or make it as hard as possible?' Well, think of it like this... you are running a large tech company, and the government comes to you and says, 'We need information on these people, and we have a court order that says you have to give it to us.' Will you then at that point tell the government to go f themselves, thereby possibly having your company sued into oblivion and perhaps getting yourself arrested in the process? No, probably not.

IMO, it's really not the job of these companies to play the heroes. If you want to blame anyone for this mess, then blame the fucktards who elected officials into office that enacted these laws in the first place.

Reply Score: 3

RE: But why?
by Stephen! on Thu 11th Jul 2013 22:25 in reply to "But why?"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

'But why don't they fight the government on this, and/or make it as hard as possible?'


Maybe they fear the government. The DOJ did once threaten to break Microsoft up.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: But why?
by Morgan on Thu 11th Jul 2013 23:12 in reply to "But why?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

'But why don't they fight the government on this, and/or make it as hard as possible?' Well, think of it like this... you are running a large tech company, and the government comes to you and says, 'We need information on these people, and we have a court order that says you have to give it to us.' Will you then at that point tell the government to go f themselves, thereby possibly having your company sued into oblivion and perhaps getting yourself arrested in the process? No, probably not.


Not to mention they have a monetary interest in keeping the government as a happy customer. I could imagine a conversation along the lines of "What? You won't give us the data? I suppose we'll have to let our IT managers know they should explore options with Apple. After all, they gave us unfettered access to their documents..." or something like that.

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE: But why?
by Soulbender on Fri 12th Jul 2013 01:20 in reply to "But why?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

In this case, unless the government is paying them lots of money


It doesn't have to be money. MS has a lot of lucrative government contracts that they probably don't want to lose.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: But why?
by Soulbender on Fri 12th Jul 2013 01:37 in reply to "But why?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

'We need information on these people, and we have a court order that says you have to give it to us.' Will you then at that point tell the government to go f themselves, thereby possibly having your company sued into oblivion and perhaps getting yourself arrested in the process? No, probably not.


So we shouldn't really be upset with tech companies when they co-operate with, say, China or Russia to spy on their own citizens or other countries?

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: But why?
by martijn on Sat 13th Jul 2013 21:16 in reply to "But why?"
martijn Member since:
2010-11-06

Like any other publically traded corporation, Microsoft would only do something if one of two things are true:

1. They do it because it helps their bottom line
2. They do it because they are forced to

In this case, unless the government is paying them lots of money, I'd say the second one is probably true.



In Europe MS has faced ~1G€ fines. Not in the US. You do not have to be paranoid to assume a link.

Edited 2013-07-13 21:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2